Teens absolutely love TikTok, but parents don’t quite understand their obsession with the app. But it’s not just for kids, as it’s both a way of keeping track of your children’s safety on the net, and a means to awaken your inner child. So, if you aren’t already on TikTok, installing the app, especially during lockdown, might not be such a bad idea.
What is TikTok?
Formally known as Musical.ly, today TikTok is currently the fastest video-sharing, social-networking service in the world. Users can film and upload videos of themselves dancing, singing, lip-syncing and more. They can also follow, like and comment on everything they see on the app. Just like Twitter and Instagram, TikTok uses hashtags to keep the conversation going.
Should I be on TikTok?
You’re probably wondering why you should bother installing another social-networking app on your phone when you’re already on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The truth is this is no ordinary socialising app. If anything, TikTok provides comfort and humour, which are much needed in these trying times in which we’re all stuck at home and running out of ideas to keep ourselves busy. It also cushions the blow of having to socially distance ourselves from our loved ones, colleagues and pretty much the outside world in general.
At first, it seemed the app only offered entertainment for teens; however, lately we’ve seen a rise in well-known moms and their children on TikTok. For example, the #SaySoChallenge #MomTakeOver had us all laughing as actress Laura Dern who took over her daughter’s TikTok dance challenge video:
Meanwhile, Reese Witherspoon, one of TikTok’s most famous moms of late, has encouraged other mothers to be more active in the social-networking platform their children use:
How does it work?
- You need a smart phone.
- Download the app (free for iOS/Apple; Android; amazon appstore).
- Once the app has installed, create a TikTok account using either your e-mail address, cell number, or a third-party platform like Facebook.
- The app then assigns you a username.
- You will be directed to the main field where you’ll see other people posting videos of themselves.
- Now you’re all set to post your own videos!
Is TikTok safe?
For now, TikTok appears to be a safe space for children aged 13+. By Internet standards, it’s free of political debates, hate speech and culture wars, but like all other social-networking apps, TikTok has its fair share of Internet trolls.
Whenever a TikTok account is created, it’s set to ‘public’ by default, making it accessible to all TikTok users all over the world. It also means even people who don’t have TikTok accounts can see all of the posts, comments, and content. To ensure that only approved users can see what you and your children are up to, make sure you reset your account ‘private’.
Here’s how to do it:
- Open TikTok.
- Select ‘Me’ in the bottom right-hand corner.
- Select the three dots in the top left-hand corner.
- Click ‘Privacy’, followed by ‘Safety’, and change your account to ‘Private’.
How to create a TikTok video
- Tap the plus sign at the bottom of the screen.
- The camera will open, revealing a red record button similar to the one that’s on Snapchat.
- Before you start recording, you can add a song so you can lip-sync, dance, or do your skit in time to the music. If you want to film something in the moment, you can skip ahead and start recording without a musical track.
- When you’ve finished editing and recording your video, upload it.
By Intern Khanyi Gina