TikTok tips

7th February 2023

In honour of safer internet day we have some tips for parents regarding TikTok:

Guardian’s Guide | TikTok

Online safety: 5 tips from teens

At TikTok, we are committed to working in partnership with parents and caregivers as you support your teen’s digital journey. Parents tell us it can feel overwhelming to keep up with evolving trends and new platforms, so we want to help simplify things by offering parents insight on the support teens really value from trusted adults—and who better to advise on what they need than teens themselves!

This is what they told us:

“Help me understand the rules”

Teens don’t expect trusted adults to be experts on every platform, but they value support to set up their accounts. This includes help with checking and understanding privacy and safety settings. They also told us parents shouldn’t be afraid to set boundaries; teens expect and even welcome them! Safety tools like TikTok’s Family Pairing features allow families to set parameters, which are especially important while teens are starting out online.

“Be available to chat”

Teens want trusted adults to be interested in their digital life and to recognize how important it is to them. Teens feel supported when they know they have an ally that is available to talk to them. Don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation. They appreciate hearing you understand things can go wrong online and you’ll be there to help if they do—no matter how big or small the problem.

“Don’t panic when things go wrong”

Your teen has come to you for help—fantastic! They may be feeling vulnerable, scared, embarrassed, or upset, so let them know how happy you are that they’ve reached out. When they share their problem, be mindful of your reaction; teens told us being met with anger means they will avoid asking for help again. Equally, teens don’t want adults to minimise their worries—even if it’s hard to understand why it’s causing so much angst. Listen without recriminations, ask questions, and focus on solutions. If they’ve broken rules, teens expect there to be consequences, but they also want help to understand what to do differently to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

“Trust me”

Teens get that trust has to be earned, and they expect adult oversight—especially for younger teens. Just as in the “real” world, teens feel greater autonomy is appropriate as they get older. Every family is different and the pace at which a teen moves toward independent use of technology will vary, but if your teen knows how to navigate platforms safely and they come to you when things go wrong, that’s a great foundation for trust.

“Respect my privacy”

Striking a balance between a teenager’s expectation of privacy and ensuring they are safe is one of the trickiest aspects of parenting—on and offline. It can be tough when a teen tells you they’d rather you didn’t follow them on a platform. It’s natural to worry they’re up to mischief, when really it’s likely they just want some space to hang out with friends without being monitored. There may be good reasons why you feel following your teen’s account is necessary. If so, teens say they want to understand your reasons and to explore ways to build trust. Older teens told us they feel protective of younger siblings and cousins and naturally look out for them online, so consider whether there’s someone else who your teen might be happy to have follow them in your place.