TikTok Guide for Parents From Stephanie Bechtol

     TikTok has come up with our students and I am disturbed with some of the information they are consuming. As I have educated myself on the topic, I thought I might share some of the information I gathered.  We must always remember that the motivation of these companies is not the emotional, spiritual, and even physical well-being of our children.  As with all social media, there are pros and cons, which require us to investigate both.

     TikTok is a free social media app that lets you watch, create, and share videos. While much of TikTok is harmless fun, there are real concerns about kids using the app. In fact, Common Sense Media recommends the app for age 15+ mainly due to the privacy issues and mature content.  This recommendation is important as 99% of our students are under 15 years old.  Concerns about TikTok for children include:

  • TikTok's emphasis on popular music means many videos include swearing and sexual lyrics. 
  • TikTok has a commercial element that encourages kids to buy stuff. 
  • There are reports of online predators using the app to target younger users.
  • Because you can post videos immediately without first reviewing or editing them, kids can upload impulsively. 

     What is a TikTok school challenge?  Unfortunately, it is a list of challenges, one for each month of the school year, to encourage students to engage in inappropriate and sometimes illegal behavior.  Students are encouraged to record and post themselves completing the “challenge.”  The first viral TikTok challenge received more than 2 million likes, 11 million views, and 31,000 comments.  Some of the challenges include:

  • Vandalize a bathroom
  • Slap a teacher
  • Mess up school signs
  • Jab a breast
  • Ditch school
  • Kiss your friend’s girlfriend

     Finally, like with any social media platform, posting videos and pictures regularly can leave children open to negative reactions and harsh comments.  This can have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem, body image, and confidence. In some instances, it can lead to depression, anxiety, and even eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. 

     I pray for you, their parents, and all the adults that guide these children through our complicated times.  I pray that the innocence of our children is protected for as long as possible. Thank you for indulging me on my soapbox!