In 2018 the most downloaded iPhone app in the world, was a Chinese export: TikTok. Formerly the apps musical.ly, Byte Dance acquired the older lip-synching video app and TikTok (known as Douyin in China) was born.
Social media giants have tried hard to capture the attention of younger children and preteens. Facebook created Messenger Kids, YouTube has YouTube Kids and Snapchat has SnapKidz. Despite those efforts, none of them have come close to reaching as many younger children as TikTok.
Part of their strategy to reach the younger demographic has been appealing to parents. TikTok calls their app a "community of global creators," but while TikTok has easy editing tools to make videos, most users interact with TikTok like any social media site. They watch videos, interact with others and follow profiles.
TikTok is a social media site and about 40% of its audience are teens, younger than any of the other social media platforms. Like any social media, parents should be aware of the pros and cons. Parents should know their children can easily get sucked into TikTok. It has a steam of short, 15 second videos, regular challenges users engage in, influencers producing regular content and constant frenetic noise, colors and content. Like other platforms, there can be inappropriate and sexual content and children may be at risk from strangers contacting them.
However, TikTok could also be an opportunity for children to be creative with its powerful video editing tools. A professional looking video can be created in minutes. TikTok can encourage creation of content, not just consumption.
If you want to know more about TikTok check out the author 2018 article on KSL. The author's company, Digital Respons-Ability, is the state sponsored provider on digital citizenship education. Schedule a free digital parenting class for your organization by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org