We all know what TikTok is (or, as some call it, TicTac). It is one of the most popular social media platforms that took the world by storm. Many children use this platform because of its popularity and the content that is shared on it.
And is that content good or bad? Well, you’ve probably only read about the negative sides of TikTok. But, in this article, we’ll emphasize the benefits TikTok brings to our little ones. So, let’s dig in!
Positives and Negatives of TikTok for Children
In this first part of the article, we’ll quickly go over both the positive and negative sides of TikTok. Let’s start with the negative sides.
Firstly, university studies support the claim that the app is highly addictive, especially for children. Those endless and fun videos overwhelm children’s brains, which releases dopamine and makes them addicted.
Addiction can lead to other consequences, such as vision, weight, and posture problems. That is all a result of excessive usage of TikTok!
So, after scaring you (hopefully not too much) with the negative sides, let’s move on to the positive sides of TikTok.
We’ll divide the positive sides of TikTok into several groups, which we’ll cover in detail later in the article. The pros of the app are:
- Creative potential;
- Educational opportunities;
- Digital literacy;
- Cultural awareness;
- Nurturing entrepreneurial spirit;
- Building positive relationships;
- Healthy screen time habits;
- Privacy and safety;
- Mental well-being;
The Creative Potential of TikTok
TikTok has a creative and fun interface. With its content creation option, children have the opportunity to self-express.
The cute music, dances, and lip-syncing let your children unleash their creative spirit while also having a lot of fun.
I have to admit, some of the tunes or little dances are quite catchy! The app also encourages children to share their experiences and tell their interesting memories of life.
Educational Opportunities on TikTok for Children
Believe it or not, TikTok has educational content. It’s not only silly dances or stupid challenges.
Children can learn all sorts of subjects, such as science, art, maths, history, geography, informatics, and others, on TikTok. The app also offers free educational content presented by expert content creators, also for free.
Some of my and my children’s favorite educational content creators on this platform are Alpha Education, Physics Dude, Nile Red, Bill Nye (the theme song rang in my head as I was typing this), and many more.
How Does TikTok Cultivate Cultural Awareness and Appreciation in Kids?
TikTok is a place where many cultures mix to create a huge social media used by a lot of users worldwide. Statistics show that TikTok has about 1 billion monthly users, all with different cultures and traditions.
By being exposed to different cultures, children develop cultural awareness and appropriation and learn to respect people different from them.
Many barriers between different cultures have been broken with this platform. It has become an ideal mix of traditions and values (when you take away the silly content).
How Does TikTok Nurture Entrepreneurial Spirit and Opportunities for Kids?
TikTok is a perfect environment for children that are driven by the entrepreneurial spirit and want to have a creative career.
Many motivational accounts help children materialize their ideas. But keep in mind that not all motivational accounts share good values.
Nonetheless, the app is a place where children can bring popularity to their name and grow their brand.
Building Positive Relationships
TikTok is a social media, so its foundation lies on social interactions. The app can polish children’s social and communicative skills.
There are many support groups and accounts on the platform, which are perfect grounds for safe online interactions.
On the app, children can meet many new friends with similar interests and develop friendships that can last for a lifetime.
Healthy Screen Time Habits
Although TikTok can be fun, you mustn’t let your children get carried away and spend days on the app. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend a screen time higher than 2 hours daily for children.
So, contact other parents and organize play dates for your children, or just take out your children for a walk in the park.
TikTok Privacy and Safety for Children
Like every other social media app, TikTok lets parents set up a safe experience. To access the privacy and safety settings on TikTok:
- Open your profile;
- Tap the three lines;
- Select Settings and Privacy;
Teach your children to avoid strangers and never share personal information. Also, the app lets your children block and report inappropriate users.
TikTok and Mental Well-being
The app can greatly help children that have problems with self-esteem, confidence, or abuse. Many groups and accounts can support your children when in need and encourage them to keep their heads high.
With constant support, it’s easier for children to battle online dangers, such as online predators, cyberbullies, and inappropriate content.
Potential Risks and How to Address Them
Teach your children to recognize and report inappropriate content and users, such as online predators or abusers.
To make sure that your children are safe, you can even monitor them by setting up parental control apps, such as mSpy, Panda Dome Family, Google Family Link, etc.
Encourage your little ones to responsibly use the platform and block every user that bothers them.
Yeah! TikTok is a great social media platform for our children to engage with educational content, express their creativity through music, and develop media literacy.
But children can easily get addicted to the app. So, keep your eyes open, and don’t let your children become TikTok slaves. Embrace the qualities, but don’t overembrace them!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is TikTok appropriate for all age groups?
Children should be at least 12 to use TikTok, but younger children can also use it if they’re mature enough.
How can parents/guardians monitor their child’s TikTok activity?
Parents can use parental control apps to monitor their children’s TikTok activity.
Are there any privacy concerns with TikTok?
Your children can encounter scammers and hackers who steal their personal information. That’s why it is important to monitor their social media presence.
Can TikTok negatively affect children’s academic performance?
Excessive screen time spent on TikTok lowers children’s focus and concentration, which leads to poor academic performance.
How can kids avoid harmful or inappropriate content on TikTok?
Kids can avoid harmful or inappropriate content by turning on Restricted Mode or blocking and reporting inappropriate users.