Cymraeg

TikTok is a social media video sharing app that allows users to post and share short videos, ranging from 15 seconds to 3 minutes. It is an incredibly popular platform, with over 1 billion active users worldwide.  The app offers users trending and popular content as soon as they sign up without them having to search for it and the algorithm quickly seeks to identify the kinds of content a user likes based on previous viewing preferences. The immediacy with which users are offered new content makes it very appealing for younger users, as there’s always something new to explore and engage with. The app also encourages children and young people to create and share their own content, driven by its easy-to-use tools for content creation and the vast audience available on the platform.


The minimum age for TikTok users is 13 however, it does not have any rigorous age verification methods.

All accounts set up by users aged 13-15 will automatically default to ‘Private’. This default setting relies on users providing their correct date of birth, showing them as under 16, so it is important that parents make sure their children are using their correct date of birth to benefit from this safety feature. All other accounts default to a ‘Public’ setting.

Find out more about age ratings in our ‘A parent and carer’s guide to age ratings of apps and games’.


TikTok is a hugely popular video-based app, largely due to the variety of content it provides – from trending dances and funny moments to curated videos from young people’s favourite content creators. The platform is often used by celebrities and influencers and many people have found fame purely through the app, making it especially appealing for young people who wish to gain popularity online. It is used both as a creative outlet for young people but also as a place to engage and connect with others around the world through livestreams and comments. With an easy-to-use design and a personalised feed based on your existing online activity and interests, it can be a very appealing app for young people to spend significant amounts of time on.


  • The ‘For you’ page is a feed with recommended videos for users based on their existing viewing habits and popular trends on the platform. Users and their content can only feature on the ‘For you’ page if the account holder is over 16.

  • When users ‘Follow’ other accounts on the platform, a ‘following’ page is created. This section will only show the videos from the accounts the user has chosen to follow.

  • The ‘Live’ feature is only available to users over 16 who have at least 1000 followers. It allows users to record a live video which is streamed on the platform in real time. Users over 18 can send and receive gifts during their live streams.

  • This is how the platform groups together its most popular videos at one time. When users upload their content, they can add a hashtag (#) to their video. This allows other users to search for content they might like.

  • This refers to users recording themselves doing a ‘challenge’, usually something that is difficult or risky which they share to encourage others to repeat.   They can be songs, activities or dances that start trending and then get copied by other users. Some are spontaneous whilst others are planned by brands, celebrities or influencers for marketing purposes.

  • The app’s ‘Duet’ features allows users to record their reactions to or commentary on a specific video already posted on TikTok. This duet feature means users can film a short video directly beside the original video they are responding to. This is only available to account holders over 16.

  • Allows users to use scenes and snippets of other videos in their own videos. This only applies for users aged 16 and over.

  • Users can save videos, hashtags, sounds and products to their favourites to watch and use later.

  • Users can send videos to other users via either the ‘Inbox’ feature or the user can share the video on to other platforms such as Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram

  • Users can choose from a variety of different enhancing filters and effects to the videos they create such as beauty filters or a green screen background.   

  • This feature enables companies and creators to advertise and sell products on the TikTok platform via videos, live streams and the product showcase tab. Users are also able to use ‘coupons’ to get money off products through the app.  

  • Allows users to upload videos onto the app that only last 24 hours after being posted. These can be edited in the same way as any other video shared on TikTok.


The TikTok platform presents a number of content risks including the risks of being exposed to sexual and violent content, hate speech, suicide and self-harm, and misinformation.  The platform is designed to serve users the kinds of content that they are interested in so unless they are actively searching for harmful content it is likely that most young TikTok users will, in the main, be offered content that is not generally harmful, and which is in line with their interests (for example fashion, dancing and comedy).  However, because the content is user generated and continually updated by users there is still the risk of exposure to adult themed or harmful content described above, for example through a video that goes viral that might feature violence or harm.  There is also a risk that if a child is interested in harmful content (perhaps due to other vulnerabilities) and searches for it on TikTok there are few safeguards to prevent them finding it.   As a parent or carer it is worth being familiar with safety features (including restricted mode) which is available on the platform and described below. 

It is also worth bearing in mind that, in common with other platforms of this kind, TikTok also features many creators and influencers who could be viewed to have ‘desirable’ lives (houses/lifestyles) and appearances which can impact on how children and young people feel about themselves and their well-being.  You can support your children by staying connected with what they are looking at online and helping them to interpret this content - reminding them that it is often carefully constructed and made to look perfect/carefree and often to sell products.  

There are millions of TikTok users worldwide so it important that your child uses the settings available to manage their contacts and their privacy.  TikTok have recently introduced a range of default settings to improve the safety of interactions for younger users, such as accounts for under 16s now being defaulted to private and for users under the age of 18, the ‘Suggest your account to others’ setting is switched off.  This means that their account will not be suggested to other users on the platform.  As explained previously, to benefit from these safeguards children need to sign up with their correct age. 

Despite these safeguards being put in place by the platform, it is still important that users under 16 know how to limit their contacts in settings to those who are known friends and try to ensure that they do not change these settings without realising the consequences, for example because they want broader exposure to get more followers. If your child is using TikTok in the ‘Public’ function, speak to them about the risks of connecting with strangers. Remind your child to tell you if they have been asked personal questions, to share personal information, to chat privately or anything that has made them feel uncomfortable.

The live streaming feature of TikTok is very popular and many account holders over 16 may want to stream their own live content. Livestreaming can feel exciting and fun and in the moment, however other users may try to pressure, persuade or manipulate younger users in to doing something inappropriate which they may later regret. Have a conversation with your child to remind them to be careful about engaging with people when live streaming, and to end the session and speak to an adult if at any point they feel uncomfortable.

As a platform that encourages comment and engagement TikTok users can sometime be exposed to unkind comments or reactions to the content they post and share.  Features such as ‘Duet’ have a real potential to allow children and young people to make or receive unkind reaction responses.  We know that the online environment generally can reduce the empathy of face-to-face interaction and expose children to a world in which reactions, likes or nasty comments can be made rapidly without those posting them seeing or reflecting on their impact. There is a risk of children being drawn into and desensitised to bullying through exposure in this way.  It is important to talk to your child about how they behave towards others online and how they react and respond to content. Encourage them to think about how a comment or post would make them feel if they were on the receiving end of it before they share it. 

TikTok is a highly compelling and engaging platform and children and young people sometimes spend many hours at a time scrolling through the diverse continually changing range of content.  The platform is designed to keep users engaged and interested and children and young people often do not have the skills to successfully self-regulate and take time and space away from the platform.  To help young people manage their time on the platform, TikTok have introduced a feature that will stop users under 18 from receiving push notifications after 10pm. If your child is a is spending a lot of time on TikTok consider agreeing time limits and boundaries that allow them to balance their enjoyment of the platform with other activities.  You may wish to use the ‘Digital wellbeing’ feature in the settings which enables users to limit screen time. 

The introduction of TikTok shop has further monetised the platform, allowing influencers and creators to actively sell the products they feature in their videos. Some young people may be influenced by the creators they follow into purchasing items, so parents and carers should check the app is not linked to their bank card or financial details. Speak to your child about in-app purchases and ensure they understand that real money is used to make purchases within the app. Most smart devices and computers allow users to set up in-app purchasing settings within their main settings menu.


  • Users under 16 should already benefit from the private default safety setting, but it is worth checking the account settings.

    To set an account to private:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Privacy’.
    • Toggle the ‘Private account’ option at the top of the page.
  • The content on TikTok is moderated and content that does not meet their community guidelines is taken down from the platform. To reduce the risk of younger users accessing mature content, it is worthwhile enabling ‘Restricted mode’ on the app. If content appears on a user’s ‘For you page’ that they are not interested in and they do not want to see any more of that content, there is also a ‘not interested feature’. There are a few features in place to help protect young people on the platform, such as stopping other users from being able to download and then save videos posted by under 16s. Remind your child that whilst the safety settings are there to protect them, they should still always think carefully about the content they choose to share. 

    To enable ‘Restricted mode’:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Digital wellbeing’.
    • Go on to the ‘Restricted mode’ section and select ‘Turn on restricted mode’. You will be asked to set a password which you will need to enter to disable this function.

    To enable ‘Not Interested’:

    • Press firmly on the video that you are not interested in and hold it until a selection of different features to choose from appears.
    • Select the ‘Not interested’ option. The video will vanish and that type of content will not show up on the user’s ‘For you page’. Note: this feature will only work on a user’s ‘For you page’, not a following page or specific profiles.

    To view profile history:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Privacy’.
    • Scroll to the bottom and select ‘Profile views’.
    • Then toggle on ‘Profile view history’.

    To change who can view ‘Stories’:

    • When users want to upload a story, a ‘Privacy settings’ menu appears.
    • Select your audience from ‘Everyone’, ‘Friends’ or ‘Only me’.
    • Note: you can also enable and disable comments on ‘Stories’ within the same settings menu.

    To change video download settings:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Privacy’.
    • Select ‘Downloads’ and tap next ‘Video downloads’ to turn off.

    To manage comments on videos:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Privacy’.
    • Select the ‘Comments’ option and choose ‘Friends’.

    To filter spam and offensive comments:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Privacy’.
    • Select the ‘Comments’ toggle on ‘Filter spam and offensive comments’.

    To manage privacy settings for direct messages:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Privacy’.
    • Select ‘Direct messages’ and choose ‘Friends’.
    • Note: account holders under 16 cannot receive direct messages. For users under 18, the default setting is ‘No one’.
  • Users can report and block other users who may be behaving inappropriately on the platform. Whilst content on TikTok is monitored to ensure it meets the community guidelines, it is possible that you may still encounter inappropriate videos, which should be reported to TikTok.

    To report or block users:

    • Go to the profile of the user you would like to block and tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner.
    • Select either of the ‘Report’ or ‘Block’ options from the menu.
    • For both options, you will be asked to give a brief description of the problem and go through a few more steps to complete the process.

    To report content:

    • Select the video you wish to report either in your feed or the user’s profile.
    • Press and hold on the video and select ‘Report’.
    • You will be asked to give a brief description of the problem and complete a few more steps to complete the process.
  • TikTok offers the ability to set daily screen time limits in the ‘Digital wellbeing’ feature of the app.

    To set time limits:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Digital wellbeing’.
    • Go to the ‘Screen time management’ section and tap ‘Turn on screen time management’.
    • Set the daily time limit in the box provided.
    • You will be asked to set a passcode which you will need to enter to disable this function. If you have enabled ‘Restricted mode’, it will be the same password.
    • Note: if users reach their time limit, they can enter this passcode to keep using the app.

    To set ‘Screen time breaks’:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Digital wellbeing’.
    • Choose ‘Screen time breaks’ and follow the on-screen steps to schedule breaks. You will be notified when to consider taking a break.
    • Note: users can dismiss or snooze the notification.

    To turn off personalised ads:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Privacy’.
    • Select ‘Ads personalisation’ and toggle off ‘Personalised ads’.
    • Note: you can also adjust some of your ad preferences using the ‘Your ad interests’.
  • The ‘Family pairing’ feature of TikTok allows parents to set up various restrictions on their child’s device. These include daily screen time, restricted mode, discoverability, direct messages and many more. Both parent and child will need a TikTok account to use this feature.

    To set up family pairing:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Family pairing’.
    • Choose from ‘Parent’ of ‘Teen’ device and follow the steps in the app to link accounts.

    To manage ‘Family pairing’:

    • Go to your profile in the bottom right-hand corner.
    • Select the three-line icon to go to your settings.
    • Select ‘Settings and privacy’ and choose ‘Family pairing’.

    Choose the account you want to manage and update the settings as needed.


TikTok has a designated ‘Guardians Guide’ which is worth exploring to find out more about the app and their recommendations for parents. Here, parents and carers will find detailed information and videos about the platform including understanding privacy settings, community guidelines, TikTok basics and a detailed guide to ‘Family pairing’.