The Tik Tok app is a music video social media platform. Tik Tok App and Musical.ly App merged in 2018 and we have updated this Tik Tok parent app guide to continue to help parents keep students safe on this app.
What is the Tik Tok app (and why is it dangerous)?
- The Tik Tok app is a music video social media platform that is replacing the Musical.ly app
- Existing Musical.ly users, content, and followers have been moved to the new TikTok app upon updating
- Developed in China, the TikTok app combines lip-syncing, built in video effects, and social media
- The company that developed Tik Tok bought the popular Musical.ly app in 2017 and closed Musical.ly in 2018
- Many users say Musical.ly and Tik Tok are very similar
- Users can watch clips of others or create clips, edit them, and add special effects
- The most popular videos feature lip-syncing or dancing
Watch this Tik Tok App Parent Guide as a video:
The Musical.ly app has shut down (Aug 2018)
- In August 2018, Musical.ly announced that it will be shutting down and transferring all 100M users to Tik Tok
- Rebranding Musical.ly creates a larger user base for the Tik Tok app
- If your student had the Musical.ly app, they will be automatically transferred over to the Tik Tok app. Due to the global popularity of the app we want to let parents know so they can keep their children safe
What was the Musical.ly app?
- Musical.ly was a popular app with teens and tweens that lets users make lip-syncing videos to their favorite songs
- Sometimes there could be mature language and sexual content in the songs that are popular on the app, and there was no way to filter the content
- According to ABC News, there are messaging features in apps that are popular with kids (like Musical.ly) potentially allowing strangers to contact your children directly. A policeman (who is a father of a 7 year old) is warning parents after his daughter was contacted by a predator on Musical.ly
Why should parents care?
- According to ProductHunt.com, the Tik Tok app has more downloads than Snapchat, Spotify, and Gmail combined on the App Store (as of August 2018)
- The Tik Tok app mixes self deprecating humor with the latest pop music, making it popular with students
- There are only two privacy settings on the app
- Private: only the creator can watch their videos
- Public: anyone on the app can see their videos
- By default, all accounts are public unless the privacy settings are changed
- In our experience, apps like Tik Tok and Musical.ly can allow strangers to direct message your children
- If your student had the Musical.ly app they will automatically be transferred to the Tik Tok app
The Tik Tok App in the News
Tik Tok, a popular app that allows users to make short music videos, has been banned in Indonesia. The ministry said that it banned the app because it contains negative videos that are deemed to be a bad influence on the youth. –Tech In Asia
Reports on the inappropriate use of the popular iPhone app, Tik Tok, [have] said videos featuring self-harm and other life-risking activities, as well as sexually suggestive content, could easily be found on the platform. –South China Morning Post
‘I risked my life, please like!’ Mobile app Tik Tok has Hong Kong children craving acceptance – and some are going to dangerous extremes. A doctor specialising in addiction warns it is risky for young people to evaluate themselves by their number of ‘likes’ on social media. –South China Morning Post
What can parents do?
- Monitor and have a dialog about the apps your children are using
- Always be on the apps your students use. No monitoring app is better than having a regular digital safety conversation with your children
- Consider creating a Family Cell Phone Contract before giving your students access to a mobile device
- If your student already has a phone, ensure that they ask for permission before downloading and using any new apps
- Have your child teach you about any new apps they want to download. Then do some research on your own to determine if the app is safe for your family to use
- Remind your children that their online activity (even under a fake username) can impact their reputation