A Guide to Setting Parental Controls on TikTok

Thomas Gilham

As technological advancements continue to rise, more and more companies are doing their part to ensure the safety of those who utilize their website and apps. Now more than ever people enjoy being entertained, informed, and connected. On the flip side of things, the surge of digital consumption has also triggered quite a bit of concern.

The accelerated rise of social media also accelerated the amount of stress parents feel in regards to their children participating in the digital world. With that being said, Tik Tok is one of the platforms that take pride in establishing a safe environment for their users. Being that their app attracts a younger crowd, they are willing to do what is necessary to ease the minds of concerned parents.

Tik Tok is a short-form video making platform that is designed for those who enjoy expressing themselves. It’s a great way for teenagers to share their authenticity with the world and it also allows them to engage with content that resonates with their personal interests. The Tik Tok algorithm is designed to show a user the content they enjoy engaging with the most. It allows teenagers to have a personalized experience on the platform. The content selection ranges from dance challenges, to DIY tutorials, to science lessons, to tips on personal development. Here are some ways parents can be in control of their child’s safety on the platform:

1. Adjust Settings on Device.
Tik Tok offers several tools to help parents manage how their teen interacts with users in order to make sure the teen is having a fun, safe experience. It’s intended for users aged 13 and over. Because of this, both iOS and Android provide parental controls that allow a parent to limit specific apps, features, or other technological sources of entertainment. Being that Tik Tok is for users 13 and over, they have been given a strict 12+ app store rating. Because of this, parents have the option to utilize the parental controls that are built into their child’s device and manually block the ability to download Tik Tok all together.

If a parent has a child younger than the age of 13 that downloaded and is using the app, they are able to contact Tik Tok administration so they can take appropriate action and adjust the settings of the child’s account. According to the Tik Tok Safety center, “In the US, children under the age of 13 are able to register for a separate experience that introduces additional safety and privacy protections designed specifically for this audience.” This curated environment does not allow the sharing of personal information among other things like commenting on other videos, messaging other users, or maintaining a community of followers.

2. Control Privacy.
By default, a user’s account starts out being public, which means that any other Tik Tok user can view videos, post comments, and post duets. With a private account, a teen can approve or deny followers. They also have the option to block another user from sending them messages or viewing their content, saving a video privately so that the content, and they can manage their duets.

3. Activate Restriction Mode.
With restriction mode a user is able to limit the appearance of certain content that might not be appropriate for a particular audience. This feature can ease the mind of parents because the setting will curate the app environment and be selective about what is shown to their teen. There is also a “not interested” feature that allows a Tik Tok user to manually give feedback on videos they no longer wish to see. All a user has to do is press the device screen while the video is playing and hold down their finger until they see a pop up that allows them to click “not interested”. The Tik Tok algorithm will begin to show a user less of that kind of video.

4. Modify Interaction.
A user is able to choose who can comment on their content. They have the option to go to the settings page and select whether they give permission to everyone, friends, or no one. The same is true pertaining to who can do a duet with them. Duets are a fun way to engage with and create videos with another user. In default mode it is possible for another user to make a duet video with a creator they like. But in order to access this sort of thing, the feature has to be turned on manually.

5. Block A User’s Engagement.
At any time a user can block another user if they do not wish to interact with them. The blocked user will not be able to access any of the content nor will they be able to send any messages to the account blocker. Along with blocking, a user can also report any content that they feel goes directly against the community guidelines, as well as any content that includes violence or self injury.

6. Activate Family Pairing.
A new feature has been introduced that allows parents to have more control over their child’s activity on the platform. The feature is called “Family Pairing”. The first step to having access to the “Family Pairing” feature is by creating a Tik Tok account for the parent. Once the parent has their own account, if they wish to do so, they are able to activate the “Family Pairing” tool by linking their account directly to their teen’s registered Tik Tok account. In order to enable the “Family Pairing” feature, two devices are needed: The parent’s device and the teen’s device. The feature cannot be activated using the same device. Both the teen and the guardian need to be fully logged in to get the setup in place, and both users will have to navigate to the “Digital Well-Being” section and from there the parent is able to scan their teen’s QR code in order to connect. And once the accounts are linked, parents will be able to control their teen’s screen time, direct messages, as well as the restricted mode.

Tik Tok is committed to providing their users with features and resources so that they can have the best experience possible. They are constantly taking action towards improving the safety features in order to establish a trustworthy relationship with their fan base. According to TechCrunch.com, “The changes give parents far more control over their child’s Tik Tok compared with any other social media app on the market today, outside of those designed exclusively with families and children in mind.”

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