With everyone under the same roof constantly and TikToks going viral, it is understandable if your kids (or you!) have given into the trend. It is, undoubtedly, a fun way to keep sane!

Although it can be risky when it comes to kids on social media platforms, with responsible use, it can present an opportunity to bond with your child or teen on their level, as well as educate them on how to use the platform safely. Thankfully, social media apps are also taking responsibility to ensure a safe environment for users – TikTok actually alerts users who have been on the app for more than two hours to avoid excessive digital consumption, especially for children.

So, here are 9 ways you can keep yourself and your children safe while using TikTok.

1. Age Gate

This is a feature that only allows users who are 13 years and above to create an account, this feature prevents under-aged children from using the platform.  Hence, content served for younger users are made age-appropriate to give parents a peace-of-mind when allowing their kids to engage on the app.

2. Screen Time Management

As mentioned, TikTok provides alerts for excessive consumption. With the screen time management, parents can limit their kids time spent on the application to 40, 60, 90, 120 minutes per day. Any further usage beyond the set limit would require users to re-enter their passwords.

Tip! Create an account using your own email, to ensure your kids are not able to re-enter the password themselves.

3. Restricted Mode

With this mode, minors on the app are subjected through machine-learning that filters out content that may not be age-appropriate. This account setting is optional and exists so that users, such as parents, can take control of the content they watch or receive. Additionally, your kids cannot change the settings unless they have the account details, as this mode can only be reverted by entering a password.

4. In-App Suicide Prevention

The risks of social media can sometimes be extreme and it is great that apps like TikTok have features that address this. The suicide prevention feature can redirect users to an in-app suicide resource page that offers tips and hotlines for help.

5. Risk Warning Tag

These tags are to warn or notify viewers that a video may not be desirable for general consumption. These include videos that contain dangerous and risky activities, such as extreme sports. 

Tip! Always monitor your kids when on the app and review the content with risk warning tags to ensure they are not played. 

6. Comment Filter Feature

This is a great feature to ensure your kids are not exposed to offensive language or comments. This feature allows the user to self-define up to 30 keywords from the comments in English and the user’s local language.  This list can be altered at any given point. This means parents can filter certain words they want to hide from their comment section to continuously ensure a safe experience.

7. Parental Control

This is made up of Screen Time Management and Restricted Mode. Parents are encouraged to set a password for these features together to limit their children’s time spent on TikTok. With this, your kids would only be able to use the app when a parent or guardian is able to monitor their TikTok activity.

8. In-App Reporting

This function allows users to report inappropriate content or behaviour on TikTok to be reviewed and taken action upon. Parents can use this tool to report any content that may not be kid-friendly or can be potentially harmful. 

9. Privacy Settings

These settings are imperative. It is advisable to properly vet your privacy settings on accounts used by your kids. Users are able to:

  • Decide who is allowed to follow them
  • Decide who is allowed to send comments
  • Decide who is allowed to react to their videos
  • Decide who is allowed to take part in a duet
  • Decide who can send them messages
  • Avoid undesirable content to be downloaded
  • Create and edit a block list

Meanwhile, here are some ways to use social media properly that can ultimately strengthen family bonds, especially during these trying times!

  • Achieving mutual understanding and strengthening bonds: Parents can learn a lot about their children through their social media profiles. Social posts often provide snapshots of a person’s personality, offering insights into their likes, dislikes, and current sentiments. Parents can use this as a viewfinder into their child’s life to better understand them and also spark conversations to address concealed issues.
  • Creating indelible memories: With the ability to share content and tag loved ones, families can maintain a digital scrapbook of their favourite family moments, hangouts and activities. Additionally, social media apps are increasingly boasting interactive capabilities. On TikTok, functions like filters and challenges allow families to create wholesome and fun content together.
  • Reducing physical distances: Social media is also a means to bridge physical distances – even if family members are separated due to work or studies, they can still communicate and interact via social media, which possess more vibrant features than regular messaging apps. The host of tools available including stickers, filters, and music, adds a whole new dimension to expression and allows for more authentic communication than just a text message.
  • Setting a good example and exploring similar passions: Shared interests on social media can serve as conversation starters, empowering family members to bond over passions and hobbies. For example, there are various dance challenges on TikTok that are great for families to participate in! 

Original article contributed by TheAsianParent.