This is a guide for teens, caregivers, and educators looking for info and support on bullying and related forms of abuse. It’s designed to help you identify bullying behaviour and figure out how to take action if you or someone you know is being bullied.
What is bullying?
Bullying can be defined in many ways, but it typically involves targeted, repeated behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm. The behaviour can be carried out online or offline by an individual or a group who misuse their power, or perceived power, over another person or group of people who feel unable to stop it from happening.
We recognise that bullying can cause severe distress to people, and we do not tolerate it on our platform. TikTok is a global community that thrives on creativity and expression, and it is critical that people feel safe to express themselves without fear of bullying or harassment on the platform.
Identifying bullying behaviour
There are various types of bullying behaviours that individuals or groups use to intimidate, degrade, or disempower others. Learn more about common forms of bullying.
Did you know?
Bullying affects those who bully, those who are bullied, and even those who witness bullying.
Bystanders, people who see bullying, can play an important role in stopping bullying behaviour.
It’s quite common for people to be bullied by people they know (e.g. classmate, friend, colleague).
Bullying can occur in almost any social environment, including in schools, online, on the playground, and at work.
People who are bullied can also bully others. Those who engage in it often intimidate others in order to regain a sense of power or control that was lost in another area of their life.
There are many ways TikTok encourages people to interact with each other through comments, direct messages, live chat, Duet, Stitch, and more. They’re all part of what makes an online community engaging, but, like communication anywhere, also carry the risk of hurtful interactions. To foster a welcoming and supportive community, we have various app settings that allow individuals to control their TikTok experience. These settings may vary depending on your region and version of the app.
By default, accounts for individuals under 16 are set to private which means you can approve or deny follower requests, and only people you’ve approved as followers can see your content. Accounts for individuals who are over 16 start out as public, which means anyone on TikTok can view your videos and post comments, or start a Duet to engage with the content you’ve created and shared. You can easily change this in your Privacy settings. Learn how
Control who messages you
Direct Messages (DMs) provide a way for community members to communicate privately. Direct Messages can be sent and received by ‘Everyone’, ‘Friends’ (creators that you follow, who also follow you back), or ‘No one’. Only registered accounts who are 16 and older are eligible for Direct Messages and it’s one of the features that a parent can control directly when Family Pairing is turned on. Learn how
Who can Duet and Stitch with you
While a Duet can be a fun way to explore your creativity, you get to decide who can Duet with you. You can choose one setting for all your videos, or make that decision for each video individually. If you are under age 16, in settings, you’ll see this is set to ‘No one.’ Only you can Duet or Stitch with your own videos. This is not able to be changed. If you are 16 or 17 years old, in settings you’ll see this feature set to ‘Friends’. You can change this to ‘No one’ or ‘Everyone’ based on your preference. Learn how
Who can comment on your videos
If you’re under age 16, in settings, you’ll see this set as ‘Friends’. This means only those who follow you and who you follow back can comment on your videos. You can change this to ‘No one’ to stop others from commenting on your videos based on your preference. If you are 16 or 17 years old, in settings you’ll see this function set to ‘Everyone’. You can change this if you prefer to limit who is able to comment on your videos. You also have the ability to delete any inappropriate comments posted on your videos. Just tap and hold the comment, then choose “delete”. Learn how
With comment filters turned on, offensive comments will automatically be hidden. You can also create a custom list of keywords so that comments containing those words will be hidden automatically, too. You can decide who can comment on your videos in general by adjusting your Privacy settings. Learn how
Remove a follower
You can delete a follower at any time, or permanently block an account from being able to view your content or send you messages. Learn how
Dealing with bullying
If you ever feel someone is harassing you or otherwise being inappropriate, help is available. If you are experiencing bullying on TikTok, please report them so our moderation team can review and take appropriate action if it violates TikTok’s Community Guidelines.
Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:
eSmart is an initiative of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation helping schools maintain a supported and connected community to reduce online and offline bullying, and increase wellbeing.
Dolly’s Dream empowers and educates families, schools and communities about bullying prevention and the power of kindness.
Project Rockit creates spaces where all young people have access to respect, acceptance, creative expression and real leadership skills.