One of the biggest complaints about TikTok is that there is a plethora of inappropriate content for teens and tweens. The app itself is rated T for Teen, meaning children under 13 should probably not have their own account anyway. TikTok is pretty fun to browse through though, and many kids love to create videos for it.
Recently TikTok came out with some built-in parental controls that aren’t perfect, but are definitely a step in the right direction. Even though Instagram promised some parental control functions like disabling the ability to send message requests to your kids, I have yet to see those get released. So, good for TikTok for understanding these types of features are really important to parents.
There are 4 specific settings you can use for your child’s TikTok account. You will need to create your own TikTok account to use as the parent profile, if you don’t already have one. You may just end up liking it but you don’t have to post any videos if you don’t want to.
Now that you have your account in place, grab your child’s device and tap on the “me” icon in the bottom right corner of the app. Then tap on the three dots located at the top right corner. From these settings, options scroll down until you see “Family Pairing” and tap on it.
The app will ask you if you are the parent or the child. Since you are still on your child’s device select the “teen” option.
Now on your device follow the same instructions, but tap on “parent” instead. The teen device will be displaying a QR code, and the parent device will have a window open for you to scan that code.
Once the accounts are paired, you can hop on your device and adjust the settings for your teen. When you use any of these controls, it will disable your teen’s ability to log out of their account and into a different account. This part is great for those sneaky kids that want to create a secret account that is not managed by you.
Screen Time Management
First, you can set a time limit for TikTok within the app. When they reach the time limit you can enter a passcode to grant more time with the app. Just be careful that they didn’t turn on a screen recorder, or watch over your shoulder when you are entering the passcode!
With this toggled on, TikTok will “do it’s best” to filter the content that is being shown to your child. Since the application has user generated content though, it’s definitely difficult to catch everything for ANY company. You can talk to your child about reporting any videos they come across with inappropriate content to help this feature improve over time.
Through the settings you are also able to disable the search function for your child. This way they won’t be able to search for inappropriate content, and they won’t accidentally come across accounts with content they shouldn’t be watching. I REALLY wish Instagram would enable a feature like this!
Finally you can limit direct messages to only come from friends, or you can disable the feature all together, which I love! I really don’t need yet another messaging platform to monitor, so disabling it is my option of choice.
Again, I’m really excited to see huge companies allow parents to take back some control, while still letting their kids interact with their friends in fun and exciting ways. These controls can go a long way in helping keep your kids safe from online predators, and stumbling across content they shouldn’t be watching.
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