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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Keith

Tik Tok: The New Era Of Social Media

Tik Tok has taken the world by storm since it rose to global fame at the beginning of 2020. While the app existed before then, it really gained traction when the pandemic began.

As one of the fastest growing platforms across the world, naturally, it has caught the eye of the younger and social media savvy generations. While the app does have age restrictions, there are many ways around this, and kids are easily finding them.

So, since Tik Tok is clearly the next generation's social media of choice, here is everything you need to know about the popular social media platform.

Tik Tok was first launched in China in September 2016. The app allows users to film and share short videos. The app only saw huge growth once it became available on the Apple store and Google Play. By utilising the apps editing, music, filter and video features users have been able to create videos that have gained millions of views, and then gain millions of followers as a result. The top ten most followed accounts on Tik Tok have over 20 million followers, and many of them have evolved into social media stars and are now celebrity personalities.

Now nearly 5 years on, the platform has almost 700 million active users per month and ranks in the top 5 most popular social media platforms, with the expectation that sooner rather than later it will reach one billion users.

Since millennials tend to prefer Instagram, Tik Tok has become the platform of choice among Gen Z. So, why is it so popular?

There are many reasons, but mainly the appeal of Tik Tok challenges and trends, and the app is proven to be far more addictive than social media platforms such as Facebook. Users spend much more time scrolling on Tik Tok than any other social media app. Tik Tok trends range from dancing, lip syncing, pranks and tricks. Users put their own take on trends by making their own videos, and this ability to personalise the videos really appeals to the younger generation who are using the app as a self-discovery tool.

Interestingly enough there are actually a few trends that involve parents and children making videos together. This has naturally led to the creation of accounts dedicated to parents and their children doing videos together, such as Australian pair @benandzara, and a range of American YouTubers, who often use their children for their youtube channels and are now moving onto Tik Tok to create videos with their kids.

However, just as with every social media platform there is a downside to every app. While Tik Tok is a source of fun, it does put pressure on the younger generation to blindly follow trends and compete for social media popularity, which can create some unhealthy habits. The app however does have some parental controls that can be implemented, to avoid encountering any inappropriate content. Lastly, just like any other social media app, comment features can lead to cyberbullying on the platform.

Don’t fret, as a parent, the best way to keep your kids safe is to be informed. The app has since rolled out new safety features for teens that will help you to keep them safe. Alongside the new safety features and parental controls on the app, you can monitor your child’s usage of the app as you feel is appropriate.

It is also important to discuss the dangers and usage of social media with your child so that they have the ability to identify if a situation is inappropriate and they need to report it.

Clear and open communication can go a long way in the trust you can share with your teen, especially as they are growing and learning to find their own way in the world. While social media and apps such as Tik Tok aren’t going anywhere, as long as you are informed, and aware you can help to keep your child safe and allow them to still have fun and just be a kid.

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