The kids are all talking about TikTok, the latest app craze among tweens. But what the heck is it, should we be worried and what do we say to our kids when they ask for the download password? What IS TikTok?
At Beano, we’re in weekly contact with our Trendspotters (20 9- to 12-year-olds who give us the skinny on their social media habits) and this week, they are all about TikTok.
Yes, the boys are still mainly glued to Fifa 19 and Fortnite but after a year of hearing about boys’ trends, TikTok’s rise is being driven by girls.
Formerly Music.ly, TikTok is short-form (15 second) mobile videos which you can make and watch. A bit like Vine <blows dust off iPhone 5>
The basic idea is that you video funny or memorable moments from your life and share them on your feed, with or without a range of filters, sticker and music.
Over to our Trendspotters:
“I’ve been posting, lip syncing and doing challenges on TikTok”, says Asena. “We’ve been trying the Woman Like Me challenge with books on our head like in the Little Mix video. I did it with my friend Amber the other night”
“I’ve been doing TikTok loads – it’s really fun” – Kamiyah
“The girls are talking about TikTok all the time – the finger dance?” – Theo, who’s cottoned onto the weird, snappily titled finger thingy challenge demonstrated here.
While Lily says: “We do lip syncs and I do my gymnastics. I also like the challenges. There’s one where you have to fall on top of each other”
Nope, no idea.
Okay, so what do us parents need to know? Well, for a start, the app is 12+ so if you do download it for younger kids to use then know you’re breaking the T&Cs, which risks having your account shut down.
TikTok is one of the most downloaded apps this year and comes from Chinese developers, Bytedance. Over 500 million users in 150 countries are thought to use the app, and it’s very much targeted at the under 21s (as was its predecessor, Musical.ly, which had its own weird issues around how tricky it was to delete accounts).
The unmoderated live streaming element is the one to watch, as streams can be viewed and contacted by unwanted viewers. Make sure you set your kid’s account to private – here’s how to change privacy settings on TikTok.
The YouTube channel Top Best TikTok gives you a good idea of what kind of content lurks within, but we can’t leave you without sharing the totally nonsensical description the app itself uses on the app store as its sales pitch.
‘More this, less that. TikTok is the time between times when you’re supposed to be on your best behaviour. It’s not YT, it’s not IG, it’s not photoshopped – it’s you brushing your teeth in your pyjamas in your bedroom at 7.45am. It’s real. Its raw. It’s telling a story in 15 seconds. And it’s way more fun. With TikTok it’s not about competing or thinking twice. It’s about scrolling as long as your thumb holds up and posting without a second thought. So throw your video in the ring, and keep toking.’
Where on earth do we start with that? We’re going to have to get out our red pen now…
‘More this, less that. Meaningless sentence. TikTok is the time between times 4.14? 9.52? When?? when you’re supposed to be on your best behaviour. It’s not YT, it’s not IG, it’s not photoshopped This seems like a good thing – it’s you brushing your teeth in your pyjamas in your bedroom at 7.45am. NO! On second thoughts, too creepy. Private account NOW. It’s real. Its raw. Apart from you’ve re-recorded it eight times. It’s telling a story in 15 seconds. And it’s way more fun. With TikTok it’s not about competing or thinking twice. When is the internet NOT about competing or thinking twice? It’s about scrolling as long as your thumb holds up and posting without a second thought. Oh good God, your poor thumbs! So throw your video in the ring, and keep toking. We don’t think they mean toking in the way we know it…‘
There, fixed it.
Actually, we quite like TikTok for its uncynical, joyful and surprisingly authentic content. Makes a welcome change from Instagram.