For many teens, TikTok is a well-known outlet for self-expression. With this app, they can be silly, loud, and even clever at times. For parents, however, TikTok is a huge distraction that can harm their teens’ lives.
What Are Teens Doing on TikTok?
On TikTok, teenagers can create and share funny videos with friends. The videos are limited to 15 seconds, and they vary from lip-syncing and dancing videos to extreme pranks and challenges.
One popular type of videos is a duet, wherein a person superimposes themselves next to someone else’s video to spin the idea and create brand-new content. Users can also repurpose audio clips from other videos and have a unique take on these existing videos, giving birth to lots of memes and viral videos.
On TikTok, users can practically make videos of any kind. Some make recipes like the viral Dalgona coffee, sing in their car, or capture funny moments, while others even go out of their way to perform skits.
What makes TikTok even more attractive is that most parents aren’t on the app. Unlike on Instagram or Facebook where they’re friends with their parents, teenagers find much more freedom on TikTok.
But like any social network, TikTok comes with privacy, safety, and screen time issues.
What Can Parents Do About Their Teens’ Obsession with TikTok?
If your teen spends all day on TikTok when they should be studying, completing the requirements for their senior high school admission, or doing household chores, you can use the Family Pairing.
Family Pairing is an additional feature that links a parent’s TikTok account (you will have to create one) with the child’s account. It enables parents to control how long their teens are allowed to use TikTok. They can also use this feature to disable direct messages to keep their teens safe from predators. More importantly, they can restrict the video content types that they may deem inappropriate for their teen.
Parents will still have to get their teens to agree to have their accounts linked. Once they agreed, all you have to do is scan a QR code in the digital well-being section of your teen’s account. Keep in mind that your kid can disable the pairing feature at any time. Don’t worry, though, as you will receive a notification and have a chance to re-link the account. But you probably have to sit down with your kid again to talk about their TikTok usage.
While you’re at it, check if your teen’s account is private. When you sign up, your TikTok account is public by default. Anyone can see your videos and location information and send you direct messages.
Setting Limits Is Necessary
In just a few years, TikTok hasamassed over a billion downloads or users worldwide. It will continue to grow. After all, it combines the dopamine-triggering mechanisms that make an app addictive. It can also produce viral stars out of nowhere. These factors alone explain TikTok’s popularity among teens today.
But without parental control, excessive use of apps like TikTok can leave teenagers obsessed with likes and instant fame. That can experience a negative impact on their lives, especially when they’re still figuring out who they are.