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Posted on Monday, September 27, 2021
Have you heard of the app that our children are using called "TikTok"? Odds are, if you have a child with a tablet or cell phone, they have found their way to TikTok.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a platform where users can post videos up to three minutes long. You can follow (subscribe) to users for free and follow their video posts. Major news channels, vlog stars, famous people and advertisers use TT as a way to put themselves out there. TikTok has an analytics system it uses to showcase more videos that you may like based on the likes that you give each video.
Not all TikTok accounts are bad, in fact, I personally love scrolling through TikTok and learning new crafts, catching up on some of my favorite news, watching puppy videos and funny pranks. But there is a dark side to it as well.
Remember the Tide Pod eating trend? Yeah, TikTok is HUGE on setting trends. While I have not personally seen any of these trends that run around, my 17 and 18 year old have told me all about them since it appears on their "feed". Right now the "Devious Licks" trend is trending, and schools are PISSED. I asked my middle schooler's guidance councilor what this trend was, and I was shocked. Apparently kids are challenging each other to steal from their school. Start off small, with something like a teachers pen, to a larger item, like a computer or wall clock. And the schools are missing so many items now because of this stupid trend. The three high schools and middle school that my teens attend all have put out emails and rewards for return or information on stolen items.
So what can we do?
It's almost impossible that we can stop our older children from enjoying apps. If they don't see it at home, a friend will share with them or they will find another way. What I would suggest is being proactive. Ask them things like "what's trending on TikTok today" and send videos back and forth through the platform. Personally, I have found my kids have been pretty open and honest about what kinds of things they have seen. Videos are so widely reported and accounts banned and videos removed so fast if they go against community standards, that the videos they see are rarely bad. Sure, there's a lot of sexually suggestive content on there, but nowadays kids can literally find that around every corner on the internet. So we just have to TEACH THEM BETTER.
Again, and I cannot stress this enough, if you talk to your children about the videos they watch, and the things they bring to real-life, you can prevent them from following along stupid trends. If I can raise three hard-headed teenagers during the Tide Pod eating days, we can survive the stealing trend that's going on. I know I have raised my children well and taught them right from wrong that they know just because they see it on a video platform, does not mean they need to try the trend.
As for TikTok, it's addicting. First thing you know you are downloading the app just to see what the hype is, and next thing you know it's 3am and you spent $60 on crafting supplies on Amazon for a DIY version of something that costs $15 from the store.