If you’re a parent of a child 7 or older, your child has probably either danced around your house to a TikTok dance or gotten on your phone asking to get on the popular social media platform to see one. TikTok is a popular social media app to watch, create, and share self-made videos using cell phones. It has become very popular by users of all ages, particularly kids. The official age for users is 13 and older, however it is very easy to get around this by entering a false birthdate.

It may seem harmless, however there are risks of using TikTok. Their guidelines ban users from sharing illegal or inappropriate content, but not being manually monitored, inappropriate content can slip through the cracks. Kids may share videos of themselves and their friends of which you as a parent would not approve, and anyone in the public can see, as they have the ability to decide who can see them. We know because teens brains aren’t fully developed, they don’t understand the long-term consequences of their actions. As with all social media, there is the risk of cyberbullying, which is associated with increased risk of suicide.

So as parents, how can we make sure our kids are safely using TikTok? Talk to your child about the risks involved and make sure their settings are not public. For younger kids who may be using TikTok, more intense monitoring is encouraged, including being one of their ‘followers’ and occasionally asking them to see some of the videos they are doing or posting. You can even make it fun for them and do a TikTok video together. Sometimes we have to be brave and embrace the craziness of this new social media world our kids are living in.