TikTok Rules for Our Kids

By: Brian Harris
| September 14, 2020 |

Laurie Hernandez Said My Name!

If you are an 11-year-old gymnast you definitely know who Laurie Hernandez is. My daughter is just that, so when the 2016 USA Gymnastics team member mentioned her name on a TikTok chat, things got loud in my house for a moment. 

Going live on TikTok to talk to your fans is just one of the many features of the video-sharing platform. From dancing to duets, TikTok has it all. 

It took some time for us to warm up to the idea of either of our kids having an account. We have 11-year-old twins, one boy, and one girl, and like most kids their age, they keep up with the latest social media trends. That includes TikTok.  I was on the platform myself for nearly 6 months getting familiar with it and in that time I found and saw some of the worst of it, while also seeing some of the best. 

From that experience, we established rules that we have put in place for our kids that I thought I would share in case you are considering allowing your child to be on TikTok. 

Our Rules

  1. Our kids are only allowed to have private channels. No one can see the videos they create unless they are their friends. Of course, they don’t really like this because it means they will never be TikTok famous. Oh well. But they will be safe. 
  2. The For You page is forbidden. There’s a lot of bad stuff there just like anywhere else. I help them find appropriate things to follow so they don’t have to look for new content. Some of my favorites that the kids have liked also:
    Nicole_thenomad – she makes smoothies, loves Disney, genuinely silly and fun to watch
    MaggieThurmon – she does all the new dances, but they are many times with her dad
    MaggiesDad – speaking of Maggie’s dad, he has his own channel full of lots of wisdom
    SarahMaddack – Sarah raps about anything. Her last rap was about cereal and milk. Seriously.
  3. I am their #1 follower. They want to have an account, so I’m following them. I comment on their Tik-Tok videos and like nearly everyone they make. There have even been times where they posted something that I made them remove. Nothing bad, just not what we wanted them doing. They know if they post it, I’m going to see it. 
  4. I have to approve of their friends. I check their friend list. If there are people on there I don’t know or recognize their name, I ask. They have to be able to tell me who they are, how old they are, and how they know them. 

So what’s the punishment for breaking the rules? The loss of Tik-Tok. Larger infractions mean the phone is gone. 

Their Phones

I own their phones and can and will ask for them to be handed to me unlocked at any moment. You can’t say you are going to do this without occasionally doing it. 

My kids have never hidden apps from me, but that’s because they can’t add any without my approving them. Apple has so many ways to protect children built into their iPhones and with a little bit of effort, you can turn these settings on for your kids. I’ve even adjusted some of the settings as they have earned trust, but I reserve the right to add them back at any moment. One of my favorite things is the ability to track where they are! That’s come in handy a few times. These functions are accessible from the app store. 

I know this may sound like a lot, but they’re worth it. There’s a lot of fun to be had on TikTok and with their phones in general…with supervision.

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