Alternatives to TikTok (2023): Short Form Video Guide for Parents, Educators, & Students

, you're logged in!
March 7, 2023

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Unlock this lesson to learn what you can do to keep kids safe on social media apps

In this guide, parents & educators will learn:

  • Why short-form videos are so popular with students
  • Pros and cons to alternative apps to TikTok
  • Tips to keep students safe while using short-form video apps

This Alternatives to TikTok guide will help parents learn:

Learn why parents and educators should care about TikTok alternatives

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all resources about social media!

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!


Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.


Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.


Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Table of Contents

TikTok has more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, but this popular app is not the only place online to watch (or share) short-form videos (Source: Omnicore).  Many other apps are available for users to consume endless streams of entertaining (and sometimes educational) videos.  This SmartSocial guide will give parents the pros and cons of the best TikTok alternatives that their students may be interested in or may already be using.  

What are short form videos and why do students like them?

  • Short form videos are 15-60 second videos that are often edited with visual effects, background music, and graphics
  • Apps like TikTok offer an "endless stream" of video content to scroll through
  • Students enjoy watching and creating (or recreating) videos of dances, lip-sync videos, and acting out comedy sketches
  • Many of the TikTok alternatives have built-in editing tools to easily add filters, songs, and sound bites to videos
  • Students use these short-form video apps for comic relief, as an escape from stress, to learn life "hacks", to connect with celebrities, to learn about world events, to find others with similar interests or struggles, to practice their video editing skills, or to be familiar with popular culture

Triller Pros and Cons

  • Triller is used to create short films, edit music videos, and share content on the app for other users to view, like, follow, comment, and direct message others
  • Triller’s video editing is an AI (artificial intelligence) based tool, that automatically applies effects to videos but results in a more polished look as opposed to TikTok’s editing tools that allow users more control to apply effects manually
  • Users can create music videos with music from Triller or from their own Apple Music or Spotify libraries compared to TikTok which only allows music from their catalog
  • Triller requires users to register with a birthday of 13 years or older, but there is no age verification and you can view the site and watch videos without an account
  • There are no built-in parental controls and mature content is easy to access

Huddles Pros and Cons

  • The Huddles app used to be known as the Byte app but was purchased by Clash App, Inc in 2021(Source: The Verge
  • Huddles is another free, short-form video app where creators can add music and other effects to their videos. The app places heavy emphasis on users monetarily tipping other creators for their videos and may be attractive to those who want to make money creating videos
  • Users must register with either a Google account or a Facebook account and must be 13 years or older but there is no age verification and young students could register with a fake birthdate
  • There are no built-in parental controls in the app and adult content is easy for students to find

Likee Pros and Cons

  • Likee is a free, original video creation and social media platform owned by the creators of BIGO LIVE
  • Users must be at least 16 years old to create a Likee account, but there is no age verification and young teens could easily register with a fake birth date  
  • Content on Likee can be viewed on the app and website without a registered account and mature and sexually overt content is prevalent on the site as well as live streams which are difficult to monitor
  • Likee does offer password-protected parental controls that can be enabled to filter unsuitable content, disable private messaging, LIVE broadcasts, and posting videos
  • Likee does not offer the option of a private account, which means if your student posts a video, anyone on the platform can view it or share the video onto another social media platform

Zigazoo Pros and Cons

  • Zigazoo is a video-sharing app similar to TikTok, but designed for kids
  • Users are encouraged to create and edit videos in response to challenges posed by the app such as, “What’s on your mind?”, “Can you sing this song from a movie?”, or “What’s your favorite subject?”
  • The app requires users to register with parental permission and uses a verification system
  • Zigazoo will not allow users to create a video or make new friends on the app without first posting a consent video WITH their parents, but users can still view videos others have posted
  • Zigazoo claims to use 100% human moderation and review every piece of video or music content posted to the site to ensure safe and age-appropriate videos
  • Teachers or parents can set up private groups, or “Classrooms” that allow students to interact within the group
  • There are in-app purchases available within Zigazoo

YouTube Shorts Pros and Cons

  • YouTube Shorts is YouTube’s platform to watch or create short videos available on the app and website
  • Videos can be no longer than 60 seconds long and can be uploaded and edited or filmed and edited directly on the app
  • There is no requirement to create a YouTube account before watching videos on the site but users cannot post videos without an account
  • To learn more about YouTube and any available parental controls, read our full resource: Navigating YouTube: What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

Instagram Reels Pros and Cons

  • Instagram’s short video feature is known as Instagram Reels
  • Users can record and edit 15-60 second videos with audio, effects, and other creative tools and share them with their friends or publicly for everyone on Instagram to view
  • Videos loop and live on your Instagram profile forever as opposed to Instagram Stories that disappear after 24 hours
  • To learn more about the pros and cons of Instagram, read our full resource: Instagram App Guide: What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

What can parents do?

  • If your student is asking for one of these apps, download it for yourself and set up your own account.   Watch  a few videos and see how the app works before deciding if the app is right for your student
  • Set up a Family Media Agreement WITH your student to discuss what videos are appropriate to both view and/or post on these apps, set any privacy and screen time restrictions, and regularly check in with your student about their screen time usage and digital habits
  • Remind students that others they meet online are strangers and they should never go to another site to chat "in private" or reveal personal information to people they meet online


TikTok may have been the most downloaded app worldwide in 2022, but there are many other options available for students who want to either consume or create short videos (Source: Statista). There are pros and cons to each platform and parents should consider these when they are deciding which apps their students should use.

Additional Resources

To learn more about the pros and cons of TikTok, read our full resource and view our videos in the SmartSocial TikTok App Guide

To learn more about the negative impact that TikTok can have on teens and learn tips on how to talk to your students about the potential dangers, read our resource: Negative Impact of TikTok on Teens

Hear more about TikTok in our MomTalk podcast where Rachel and Andrea discuss teenage views of TikTok

Share Your Thoughts With Our Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Become a Very Informed Parent (VIP) to get our social media suggestions in your email every Tuesday & Thursday.
Dotted arrow to right
Learn about our
"Very Informed Parent" 
VIP Program
Right arrow
Josh Ochs headshot Round
Schools & Districts: Partner with us to protect your community online

Our remote presentations (and website) teaches over a million students each year how to shine online. We teach students how their accounts can be used to create a portfolio of positive accomplishments that impress colleges and employers.

Partner with
Right arrow
SmartSocial podcast logo
Join Our Smart Social Podcast each week on iTunes

With over 240 episodes, Josh Ochs interviews psychologists, therapists, counselors, teachers, and parents while showing you how to navigate social media to someday shine online.

Listen on:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts

Here are some of the latest resources at