As a parent, it often seems like your kid’s on a new social media app every other week. One of the apps that has popped up on every teen’s phone lately is TikTok. Two resources can help you understand this new social media platform. National PTA has partnered with TikTok itself to create TikTok Tips for Parents, and Common Sense Media has created the Parents’ Ultimate Guide to TikTok (also available in Spanish).

TikTok Tips for Parents

National PTA partnered with TikTok to create this guide for parents. At its most simple level, TikTok is a platform for creating short videos, much like the now-defunct Vine. The guide covers:

  • What is TikTok?
  • TikTok Terms
  • How to manage connections, including private vs. public accounts and blocking users
  • How content can be restricted
  • A digital well-being checklist

The TikTok terms section provides a useful guide for parents about the unique language of TikTok (e.g., Duets) and the how-to sections clearly walk parents through how to protect their child’s account, who they can connect with, and what they can see on the platform.

Parents’ Ultimate Guide to TikTok

Much like the National PTA guide, the Common Sense Media guide covers the basics of the platform and answers questions parents might have about TikTok. There is a little overlap with the National PTA guide, but it also covers questions not included in the other guide. Questions addressed in the Common Sense Media guide are:

  • What is TikTok?
  • How safe is TikTok?
  • How does TikTok work?
  • Is TikTok appropriate for kids?
  • What age is TikTok recommended for?
  • How can you make your TikTok account private?
  • How do I delete a TikTok video?
  • How can I delete a TikTok account?
  • How can I use TikTok with my kids?
  • How do you do a duet on TikTok?
  • What are TikTok Challenges?
  • Does TikTok have parental controls?
  • How can I monitor my kid’s activity on TikTok?
  • What if my kid wants to get famous on TikTok?

Both guides can help parents understand TikTok and how to keep their child safe on the platform. Parents may also want to include National PTA’s The Smart Talk as part of their conversation about TikTok as a way of developing family rules for online behavior and technology use tailored to their family’s values and their child’s needs.