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TikTok Explained To Parents: Here’s How It Works

TikTok: You will have heard of it. Some speak well of it, some badly. Some have endless fun, and some demonize it. Some consider it a social network for kids, some for solicitors, and some for creativity and fun. But what is TikTok? How does it work? At what age can it be used? What are the risks for minors?

What can parents do to educate their children about technology and not demonize the medium, risking driving them further away? The aim is to help parents use the app safely. It’s called “Together with the Discovery of TikTok: A Guide to the Safe Use of the Most Creative App of the Moment” and was presented today by the social network in conjunction with the announcement, on a global scale, of the new parental control tools made available to parents to regulate the presence of minor children on the social network.

What Is TikTok?

TikTok is a very young app; it was born only two years ago, but it quickly positioned itself as an app for creating and sharing short videos from mobile. It currently has 100,000 active users in Europe. TikTok is the old Musical.ly, born in 2014 and purchased in 2017 for just under a billion dollars by the Chinese ByteDance, which launched it with the new name in August 2018. TikTok is not just music and ballet, but since the beginning of the year, it has become a global stage where you can express yourself, vent your creativity, learn something new, or spend time having fun.

How Does TikTok Work, And When Can It Be Used?

For starters, TikTok is not an app for kids. It is intended for a 13+ audience, meaning children aged thirteen and up can download it. But just because they can download it doesn’t mean they should be left alone with the phone in their hand. The role of the parent remains fundamental in the first steps towards a healthy and aware digital education.

Also Read: Best Trending TikTok Hashtags

What Can You Do With This App? And How Can Young People And Adults Use It Educationally?

TikTok is a constantly evolving reality. TikTok is:

  • It is a platform for sharing and enjoying short content up to 60 seconds.
  • On TikTok, you can participate, interact, and co-create—a peculiarity and a strong point of the app.
  • It is a place for creative expression, thanks to the different means available: effects, sounds, music, etc.
  • On TikTok, the centrality of content is fundamental. It is a social network and a platform that provides range.
  • Authenticity on TikTok is always rewarded.
  • There is a wide range of content for all tastes; if, at the beginning, it was famous for ballets, now comedy sketches are published, but there is also an educational and didactic strand with the hashtag #learnwithTikTok.
  • It is more than just a platform for young people; adults and grandparents are also present. Over 67% of members are over 24 years old.

How Do You Make TikTok Safe For Kids?

On TikTok, there are various tools to ensure the safety of minors. Specific measures are envisaged, such as:

  • Features are limited based on age.
  • The family connection, a sort of parental control
  • Privacy

Features Are Limited Based On Age

  • Children under 16 cannot access the direct messaging feature or host a live stream.
  • Children under 18 cannot send or receive virtual gifts.

The Family Connection

It is a tool that allows you to connect the parent’s account to that of their minor child via a QR code. It is a feature created last February that has been implemented and enriched. Among the settings that the parent can define:

  • Set time limits.
  • Limit or turn off direct messages (for those over 16).
  • Restrict content viewing.
  • Make your account private or public.
  • Turn off the search field.
  • Decide whether other people can have access to the videos your child likes.

Attention To Privacy

  • Up to 18 years of age, a private account is recommended.
  • The profile photo, cover image, and bio are public and must be chosen carefully.
  • Advise your child not to reveal personal information such as age, home address, telephone number, or places they frequent.

How Do You Educate Teenagers Digitally?

Massimiliano Dona, president of the National Consumers Union, underlined today in a press conference the importance of playing with your children and of “constantly communicating with the youngest consumers, interacting with them, and giving importance to the online life of young people”. We must not distance ourselves from technology but experience it together.

They have been immersed in it since they were born, and they “need someone who accompanies them and directs them towards correct use in order to be able to know and exploit its resources and potential and guarantee digital well-being, understood as feeling good within a platform. Minors are not capable of regulating themselves independently.”

At this point, the adult comes into play. It is essential to set time limits and agree with your child on a method of use to prevent an addiction from developing. A habit is linked to the time spent online and its repercussions on family, social life, and sleep. The brain remains active and connected even when you are offline.

Using parental control or family connection means creating a bridge between teenagers and parents; they are not ways to invade privacy but to monitor the child. “The limits are not blocks but define a space of action and movement. We cannot give such a broad tool to those who are not yet even structurally capable of self-regulating and critically evaluating what happens to them. For this reason, children need to be digitally educated from an early age. We need to follow our children online, act as teachers, and follow them.”

How Can A Parent Act As A Filter?

A parent must:

  • Use all the tools made available by the platform, which allow you to monitor your child’s activities without depriving him of his space and freedom of action. Restrictions are not limitations but protections.
  • Help select content and methods of interaction.
  • Teach critical thinking online to identify any mistakes and essential issues and be less conditionable because there are many links and exploited, misleading, and conditioning news among all the positive stimuli and information.

Also Read: Aesthetic Usernames for TikTok

Tech Cults
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