How Is TikTok Affecting Our Kids?

Jennifer Johnson

The attorneys general from several states across the U.S. are investigating the effects of TikTok use on children. TikTok is one of many potentially dangerous apps for teens, and these attorneys general are investigating whether or not TikTok is harming younger users and whether or not TikTok itself knew about the harmful effects of its app. 

Many social media platforms have recently been under scrutiny by legislative groups, who are debating whether these platforms should be more strictly regulated. President Joe Biden even mentioned the regulation of tech companies in his State of the Union address on March 1.“It’s time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, and demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our children,” he said. 

What Is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media platform that lets users share and view short videos. If you haven’t used it already, you’ve probably heard a lot about it during the COVID-19 pandemic when it gained popularity. Content posted on the app can include anything: comedy, recipes, dance routines, politics, even history.

Unlike some other social media platforms that show you content primarily from accounts you’ve proactively followed, users on TikTok spend most of their time on the “For You” feed, which shows videos recommended by an algorithm based on the user’s actions on the platform—whether or not you follow the accounts. This means that kids may run into inappropriate or even explicit content, and there’s no great way to effectively protect them from it. 

The Real Question

We know TikTok—along with other social media—can be dangerous to children, and legislators are showing more and more interest in regulating these platforms. But when it comes down to it, who is really responsible for keeping our kids safe online? We can ask for more government regulation; we can ask schools to try to monitor internet use; but really, our best bet is to teach our kids smart tech habits that will enable them to keep themselves safe.

We can introduce them to tech gradually and with lots of parental involvement (and hey, Troomi’s got a phone for that!). We can have open conversations and let them know they can talk to us about anything they experience online. We can teach them about the risks of the Internet, like cyberbullying, pornography, and online predators, and we can teach them what to do if they run into any of these dangers. 

Our kids won’t be able to avoid technology completely, so who better to teach them how to use it than us, their parents? It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing—tech with no restrictions or no tech at all. There’s a way to introduce our kids to tech in a safe, controlled way that will build a foundation for safe, healthy tech use throughout their lives.

Troomi is here to help you help your kids develop safe habits with tech. We provide safe phones that will let kids learn gradually without having to worry about the dangerous stuff. The dangers of tech are real, but we can prepare our kids to handle these dangers, whether they’re on TikTok or another platform.