What is Tik Tok?

The App TikTok (known as Douyin in China) is a free streaming service that allows users to watch, share and create short videos, using a smartphone.

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world and is the most downloaded App, with it being downloaded over 2 billion times and has over 800 million active users worldwide.

TikTok was launched in 2017 and started to grow after it acquired musical.ly in August 2018 and the two App services were merged. It is a free Chinese social media App owned by parent company Bytedance based in Beijing.

As of 2019, TikTok was available in 155 countries and 75 languages (Apptrace, 2019).

TikTok is proving so popular that Disney's head of streaming, Kevin Mayer, is leaving his post at Disney, despite getting 50 million subscribers in April alone to Disney+. Despite being happy in his role at Disney, Mayer felt he couldn’t pass on the opportunity to become the CEO of TikTok and COO of Bytedance.

TikTok uses artificial intelligence (AI) to keep its users devoted to the App and within a short period of time it can build up vast feed-based data to mimic your actions when using social networks.

  • TikTok is very popular with the younger generation with 50% of global users being under 34 years of age and with 26% between 16 and 24 years of age (Omnicore)
  • 55% of users are male and 46% are female
  • TikTok users spend an average of 52 minutes a day on the app.
  • 90% of users admit to visiting the app on a daily basis.
  • Users can watch TikTok videos or create and share short-form videos, using duplicate videos with music and sound.
  • You can subscribe to channels you like and get notifications on the latest videos
  • In the first quarter of 2020, TikTok had 315 million downloads, with India downloading the most, followed by China, then America. (Wallaroo)

TikTok connects you with family and friends and younger influencers use it to increase their followers. The App allows you to leave comments or likes on videos. The videos themselves are around 15 seconds long but four videos can be linked for a 60-second one.

Some people call TikTok the ‘lip-sync’ App because people can choose to express themselves in a 15-second video clip by miming to popular songs and using original music.

The clips can include dancing, funny posts, or special talents. You can even add special effects and filters to your short videos making them more fun and interesting.

Signing up is easy by using either an email address (which will need confirming so be sure to use a genuine email address), phone number or via Facebook, Instagram, Google or Twitter. A ‘date of birth’ needs to be entered in the registration process, but is easily bypassed by entering a false date of birth to skip getting consent. There are no checks to confirm your age. Users must, however, be over the age of 13 and with a parent/guardian’s permission if under 18 years of age. (Minimum age is 16 years old in Ireland).

Every account is initially set to public by default, so be aware that anyone can see and comment on any videos that you or your children have posted unless you change your audience to ‘private’. Always check this- once a video has been posted, it is on the internet for anyone to find.

Although it is supposed to be a harmless fun app, like any social media network, it has raised various concerns. For example, once you download the app, you can see every video not set to private without having to register to the app.

Some videos may contain swearing and people wearing revealing clothing. it is advisable to use all the privacy settings for the younger TikTok users to safeguard them and their shared information. This helps to limit their viewing to friends only instead of everyone. Everyone can still see their username, profile picture and bio, even with settings privatised.

Parents have acute concerns about children being contacted by online predators. Remember to keep all accounts set to private with strong passwords and ensure your child knows how to block someone and to inform you of anything out of the norm. This could include someone asking how old they are, where do they live and what school do they go to etc. Some users have reported receiving private messages from strangers.

Children also have the freedom to post a video without asking for permission or review, so keep them up to date with knowledge of how to stay safe online.

If parents are vigilant to what their children are watching, TikTok can be a fun app for everyone to use whether you are young or old.

On a positive note, the app has a ‘digital wellbeing’ timer to limit screen time and app use. This can allow a degree of parental restriction too, but not all content gets flagged.

There are new laws around children’s online safety hoping to come into effect late 2020, by the ICO. These will hold websites themselves more liable to keep children safe and hefty penalties if it’s not upheld.p checking your online personality score and social media scores regularly.

Here at Notty, Tik Tok is our least favourite Social Media and find it potentially the most harmful to your reputation and to easy for children to access harmful content: https://www.notty.co.uk/blog/child-safety/suicide-graphic-shared-on-tiktok