What parents need to know about social media craze TikTok

What is it? Is it safe? How does it work?

November 06 2019


What is TikTok?

TikTok is free app available to download by both Apple and Android users.

Users film videos of themselves lip-syncing or acting out comedy sketches, up to 15 seconds long, and can choose from a database of songs, effects, or sound bites.

It might be a bit of a head scratcher for the older generations, but TikTok is no news to the teens of the world with 41 per cent of users aged between 16 and 24.

"If you're over the age of 24, you are too old for this one," social media expert Meg Coffey told Sunrise.

"It's just fun. The kids love it, there's nothing malicious like Facebook and Twitter. It's a fun place to be yourself, to show videos, to dance and to sing."

Users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app, which is currently available in over 150 markets around the world, in 75 different languages.


How safe is TikTok?

Coffey says it's important for parents to be aware of what social media platforms their kids are using and to make sure accounts are always 'private'.

"As with any social media platform you're going to let your children have access to, parents need to be aware of what it is."

When you sign up, your TikTok account is public by default, meaning anyone can see your videos, send you direct messages, and use your location information.

Parents should make sure they turn on all privacy settings for accounts kids are using, so only people they know can interact with their videos or message them on the app.

"Have rules around TikTok, make sure their accounts are private and not open to the public."

That means either opting for a private account or changing the settings for comments, duets, reactions, and messages to "Friends" instead of "Everyone."

You can also turn those features off completely.'