As much as you might wish that your kids opted for backyard tee-ball games and arts and crafts instead of smartphones and social media; that is not the world we live in anymore. When you were a child you probably had constant scrapes on your knees and were best friends with all of your neighbors but today's children are connecting in a much different way. While (hopefully) they still partake in some of those neighborhood games they most likely spend a lot of their time looking at screens. This brings a level of anxiety to many parents. Social media has the potential to connect and educate children but can also be a dangerous place for them if not used as intended. That is why we encourage parents to join their children on social media. Your kiddos being online is inevitable, but if you participate in it with them you can help ensure their safety; while having fun together.
What is Tik Tok
One social media platform that has the potential to combine technology, creativity, and above all fun is Tik Tok. You may have heard of Tik Toks over the last couple of months as it has skyrocketed to one of the most popular apps, especially for children. The premise of the app is to create videos up to 60 seconds on a wide array of topics from comedy to art to music and everything in between. Creativity runs rampant as you scroll through Tik Tok and you can't help but feel like you are looking at the early work of some of the futures biggest and brightest makeup artists, actors/actresses, and athletes. While you can follow your favorite creators on the app it is not set up like Facebook or Instagram where you only see the people you are following. Tik Tok features a "For You Page" where it shows you content from all around the world and this is where inspiration spikes for many users.
While creativity is obviously a great thing to foster in a child's mind it is not the only aspect of the app. There is also the fear that your child can create content that is viewed by strangers, or be messaged by people from all around the world. An early critique of the app was that their privacy policies were not up to par. Since the creation of the app, they have tightened these policies and put an emphasis on safety and parental control. A new initiative called "Family Pairing" allows parents to connect their own account to their child(ren)'s. This feature allows parents to control a number of things from their own phones. Some of the most notable settings that you can manage is turning your child's direct messaging completely off, setting a child's account to private so the only people who can view their content are approved followers and flipping on a setting that restricts mature content from showing up on your child's "For You Page," as well as setting screen time limits. After these initial safety measures were enacted Tik Tok took it a step further and stopped direct messaging for anybody that is under the age of 16 altogether.
Why You Should Join In
Now, you could flat out tell your child "no" to downloading Tik Tok, many parents have. But what you could also do is have an open and honest conversation with your child about whether they are interested in it. If you do, tell them that you are okay with them joining the platform as long as you join it together. Sit down and pull out both of your phones or tablets and bond over creating clever usernames and then utilize the "Family Pairing" feature. Set all of the controls to a setting that makes you comfortable and then maybe take a scroll through the "For You Page" with your child. Laugh at the comedy, awe at the art. Whatever you do do it together and have fun with it. Ultimately if they see that you are interested in navigating this with them and you also find the app to be amusing they will be more inclined to make it more of a family activity.
Why You Should Follow Us on Tik Tok
Consider checking out our brand new Tik Tok account @paparentalliance and giving us a follow. We have launched this new account with the intention of further connecting parents and children and we can't think of a better time to get started. Our Tik Tok will feature content that puts an emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and family togetherness. We have a team of content creators that are working to make Tik Tok, particularly our account, a place for families to enjoy together. By giving us a follow on both yours and your child's account you can gain access to family-friendly videos that range from "how-to's" to ones that promote mindfulness and wellbeing.
Here is our very first Tik Tok. We wanted to show our families how to download and use Tik Tok in the first place! See below for a tutorial on how.
We also want to do our part to help out with some of the boredom you and your family might be facing right now. So, every Friday for the next 5 weeks we will be hosting Tik Tok competitions. These competitions will be featured on both our Facebook and Tik Tok page every Friday at 7 pm. The games and challenges will be different every single week but one thing will remain the same; they are family activities. The challenges will be a chance for you and your child(ren) to shake-up your quarantine "norm" and get a little silly together, ultimately making lasting memories. With an emphasis on fun and togetherness, you can use our account as a jumping-off point to show your child that Tik Tok can be a shared activity.
Family fun is hopefully enough incentive to participate but we are also going to randomly select one participant each week to win a $25 Amazon gift card. For the first four weeks, we will introduce the competition on Friday at 7 pm. Your family's submission must be in by the following Thursday at 7 pm. Winners will be announced at the same time as we announce the next competition. You can only win one of these challenges during the first four weeks but in the fifth week, we will be having a BINGO game to select the final winner. Don't stop participating after you win!! The more entries you have the better your chances are of winning the BINGO game.
Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Tik Tok to see what the challenges will be. This Friday at 7 pm we will be announcing that our first competition is a Kahoot game. This trivia-style game will be explained in detail on Friday so get your thinking caps on! We want to remind families that these challenges are solely made to get your family up and have fun together, parents and children of all abilities will be able to participate.
Do you have an idea for a fun challenge? Let us know below we would love to hear from you!