Owned By: TikTok Pte. Ltd.
Operating System: IOS and Android
Available for download: Yes
Desktop version: No
Approximate release date: 2016
Age Rating*: Rated 12+ for the following:
- Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
- Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
- Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor
- Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity
- Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes
Brief Description*: TikTok is THE destination for mobile videos. On Tiktok, short-form videos are exciting, spontaneous, and genuine. Whether you’re a sports fanatic, a pet enthusiast, or just looking for a laugh, there’s something for everyone on Tiktok. All you have to do is what, engage with what you like, skip what you don’t, and you’ll find an endless stream of short videos that feel personalized just for you. From your morning coffee to your afternoon errands, TikTok has the videos that are guaranteed to make your day.
*Information from the App Store
Users can create videos directly from the app.Access to camera (device camera)
Users have the option to sync their phone contacts to their account.Access to contacts
Individuals can directly upload photos and videos into TikTok.Access to photo gallery
All users have a username.Anonymous posting (posting without a username or identifiers)
Multiple businesses run TikTok accounts.Business accounts (used for business)
Users cannot clear history on TikTok. However, they can delete posts as well as adjust viewing settings after posting. Also, other users can save videos people post.Clear history function
Tiktok may use your contact information as well as identifiers to track. They also may collect information that could be linked to your identity, including purchases, location, contacts, search history, identifiers, diagnostics, financial information, contact information, user content, browsing history, and usage data.Collects user’s information
Users can follow users they don’t know.Connect with strangers
Similar to other social media platforms, users can use the app to cyberbully others.Cyberbullying opportunities
Users can directly message other users. These messages are private.Direct messaging (private)
Messages and images don’t disappear when you open them; however, individuals can delete or alter the viewing settings after it's posted.Disappear messages/images
This type of content can be found on the app.Drug/alcohol/vaping/tobacco imagery
This type of content can be found on the app.Eating disorder content/imagery/references
Individuals can search for videos or hashtags with emojis.Emoji search (search content with emojis)
Accounts with preloaded followers are available on eBay.Established accounts available for purchase online
Users can be exposed to this type of content while on TikTok.Firearm content/imagery/references
Tiktok alerts users if a video has sensitive content.Graphic content warning
Everyday there are new trending hashtags on TikTok.Hashtag use
Users can share videos to their friends or publicly. They can also share videos via private message.Video sharing
TikTok users with at least 1,000 followers have the option to go live. If users have fewer followers, they don't have the option.Live stream function
Must use location for it to function.Location dependent services
According to the TikTok privacy page, “We collect information about your location, including location information based on your SIM card and/or IP address. With your permission, we may also collect Global Positioning System (GPS) data.”Location services enabling
Many companies and accounts will share sponsored content and ads.Marketing (sponsored content)
Users do post content related to these topics. Some of the content can be resourceful, but it can also be concerning.Mental health content/imagery/references
Nudity is prohibited, and TikTok will ban accounts that post videos with nudity. However, highly sexualized videos and content is on TikTok with “accidental flashes” sometimes.Nudity
Users can only access TikTok when they are connected to WiFi or the internet.Offline functionality
TikTok has video editing capabilities.Photo filters and editing
This type of content is not found on TikTok. TikTok will remove videos and ban accounts that post this type of content.Pornography
Users can set their account to private. They can also adjust the viewing settings for individual videos to friends only, private, or public.Privacy settings (able to set account as private)
If users come across concerning content, they can report it and select a reason as to why they are reporting it. From there, TikTok will review the content and determine if it should be removed or if the account should be banned.Reporting functions (for bullying, inappropriate content)
Whether users screen record or save a video, the content creator will not be notified.Screen recording/screenshot notification
Content creators can post self-promoting content to increase their following count, post engagement, likes, etc.Self promotion (for popularity)
This type of content can be found on TikTok.Sexualized content
While users can not video chat on TikTok, they can go live with another user if they have more than 1,000 followers.Video chatting
Users can share TikTok videos with others via text, private message, facebook, etc.Video sharing
Reviewed By: Ryan
While TikTok has inappropriate content on it, not all users are posting/viewing inappropriate content. However, stumbling upon it will happen. Setting expectations and discussing behaviors for using the app is very important as a parent. TikTok itself isn’t dangerous, but a youth posting risky content could turn into a dangerous situation.
When discussing TikTok with youth, I’m talking to all age ranges. I’ve had discussions with 2nd graders and 12th graders about using TikTok. My main concerns are for younger youth using TikTok and what they will be exposed to. I have a TikTok account and have been scrolling through posts fairly consistently to develop this review. There is a lot of mature content on TikTok.
Mental health content is not as searchable as it is on other platforms, such as Instagram or Snapchat. Using mental health hashtags that are current does not take you to users posting about mental health, but that’s not to say that there aren’t mental-health-sharing accounts. TikTok’s platform design is about sharing fun, surprising, shocking, funny, and snarky videos. I haven’t found dark themed accounts as of this writing.
Drug, alcohol, and vaping content is available by search. A quick search of #vape will get you to posts and accounts where you can view vaping. #Vape currently has 242.6 million posts. #Vapetricks (122.6 million posts) will take you to some very creative vaping videos. #weed will not get you to the drug related content, however #w33d (112K posts) will show you videos related to marijuana. #420 has 61.1 million posts, and #alcohol currently has 24.6 million videos.
There is a lot of sexual content on TikTok. A quick search of #nude will, as of this writing, get you “no results.” However, a search of #kinkyaf (1.8 million posts) will take you directly to mature theme content. #kinkyteens currently has 21K posts. A quick random scroll through the most popular videos included: burning calories during sex, a girl asking about anal sex, a “How I became a lesbian” post, a video about marijuana, a girl talking about her Paypal account she has to “make a business deal” to her men followers, what woman’s thighs should be like, a woman talking about threesomes with her boyfriend, and a woman talking about watching too much Pornhub.
The current age restriction for TikTok is 12. I’m not sure why this is the recommended age, but I very much disagree with this number.
I would not recommend children less than 17 use TikTok.
My #1 recommendation: If you are going to let your child have a TikTok account, you should have an account as well so that you can effectively educate them on how to use it responsibly. Part of teaching them is knowing what content is on the app.
Here are some other safety tips:
- Do not use full names as usernames.
- Set the account to private.
- Set your privacy settings and who can see/download content.
- Do not post personal information such as drivers’ licenses, school IDs, state IDs, phone numbers, birth certificates, school schedules, and/or other identifying information.
- Turn off location services.
- Use the reporting system when they see inappropriate content.
- Talk to a parent if they see a concerning post from a friend (mental health, bullying, inappropriate posts, etc).
- Be aware that videos can be easily saved from TikTok.
- Report bullying both through TikTok’s reporting function and to a parent.
- Save videos/screenshots of bullying behaviors.
- Block bullies.
- Stick with the age restrictions
- Even though an account is private, privacy isn’t guaranteed. Once a post is shared it is totally out of the user’s hands.
- A digital reputation begins the moment an account is opened. What they post now could affect them later in life.
- Where kids are online, predators are online. Predators especially would be attracted to apps that young people use and apps that parents are not well-versed with. TikTok has many young users posting borderline inappropriate content. There is also direct private messaging on TikTok. This could make this app very desirable for a predator. Be aware of who your children are talking to online.
Reviewed by: Giovanna
People my age love TikTok! I spend the majority of my time on my phone looking at TikTok. Making videos with my friends is one of my favorite pastimes. Some of the common things I come across are dance videos, advertisements, and a fair amount of crude humor. With that being said, I am 18 years old and when I see an inappropriate video, I have enough sense to simply scroll past it. However, a curious child may not do the same. They can look at a joke and not understand it which will cause them to research the meaning, which leads to dangerous overexposure. That’s why I believe no one should get TikTok until they’re 14.
Parental controls are extremely limited on TikTok. There is a “For You” page where any kind of video can show up and a following section. Even if your child does not have the app, they still have the ability to scroll through the For You page on the TikTok website. My recommendation for parents is to limit the amount of time you allow your child to spend on TikTok because it can be addictive and lead to less productivity.
My advice for any child who is eager to join TikTok is that when you are my age, you will be so thankful that you received the app at the appropriate time.
Reviewed by: Kaitlin
TikTok is an app that should only be used by teens. There is content on the app that is not appropriate for teens under 16 years old. Most of that content is coming from adults that use the app. Adults make sexual references, use vulgar language, and create videos that are not appropriate for young kids. All in all, it’s not an inappropriate app. It’s just certain people using it that make it inappropriate.
About Giovanna Niccolai
Giovanna is a Montour High School graduate. She was a varsity cheerleader and enjoyed participating in clubs such as Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America, and Cure Finders. She’s attending college majoring in Information Science with a focus in Data Analytics or Computer Security.
Kaitlin graduated from Bellwood-Antis High School. She has been a dancer since the age of 3 and has been on her dance school’s competition team since she was 11. She was a member of Aevidum club and is the Vice President of Renaissance club. She participated in many school events like mini-THON and leadership field trips. She attends college to get her associates degree in Physical Therapy Assistant and eventually go on to get her Doctorate of Physical Therapy.