Hello and welcome!
We know that you, as caregivers, want to help your teens learn about digital safety so they can manage their online presence, both now and as they grow into adulthood.
This Guardian’s Guide is designed to provide an overview of TikTok and the many tools and controls we’ve built into the product to keep our community safe. The guide also provides general information on common internet safety concerns.
Reviewing this guide, our Youth Portal, and our Community Guidelines with your teen can help your family establish ongoing dialogue about safety in our digital world. Hosting candid family conversations about the ways in which your teen engages online, including and beyond TikTok, will help bolster their sense of digital citizenship and empower them to be mindful of their own safety on the internet.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a short form video app. It is a place for fun and positive content created by real people around the world. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.
Creating a TikTok account
TikTok can be downloaded from the App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and other official application platforms. TikTok has a 12+ rating in the Apple App Store and is listed as “Parental Guidance Recommended” in Google’s Play Store. If you don’t want your teen to download TikTok, these ratings mean you can prevent them from doing so using the parental controls available via these stores or platforms.
To sign up for TikTok, people must provide their date of birth. If someone creates their account using another platform, they will also be asked to provide their birth date to us directly. If someone tries to create an account but does not meet our minimum age requirement, we suspend their ability to attempt to create another account using a different date of birth.
Underage appeals on TikTok
If we believe someone under 13 – or 14 in South Korea and Indonesia – is using TikTok, we’ll ban their account and they may appeal if they think we have made a mistake. If you’re the parent, guardian, or other trusted adult of a teen whose account we ban, they may ask you to help them submit an appeal.
If your teen decides to appeal their ban, we’ll give them some options for confirming their date of birth. To submit an appeal, your teen must open TikTok, tap “Appeal” and follow the instructions provided. In certain countries, one of the options they may choose will require them to upload a photo of themselves with their parent, guardian, or other trusted adult who confirms their date of birth. Learn more
Why it’s important your teen provides their real date of birth
TikTok is only for those aged at least 13 – or 14 in South Korea and Indonesia – and it’s important that your teen provides their real date of birth. From restricting access to certain features to tailoring the ads people can see, accurate information helps ensure community members have the correct age-appropriate experience. For example, in addition to our age requirement, we do not allow younger people on TikTok to use age-restricted features such as the ability to host LIVE or use Direct Messaging.
Offering a safe and supportive environment is our top priority. We believe that feeling safe is essential to helping people feel comfortable with expressing themselves openly and creatively. We remove content, including video, audio, livestream, images, comments and text that violate our Community Guidelines, and accounts involved in severe or repeated violations. Under certain circumstances, we will go one step further and report the accounts to relevant legal authorities to keep our community safe. Our Community Guidelines apply to everyone, and to everything shared on TikTok.
TikTok offers a home for creative expression where users can enjoy an eclectic range of immersive, genuine, and entertaining videos – from dance challenges to lip-syncing to DIY tutorials to historical parodies to internet memes. Learn more about the For You page, being a creator, and community safety on TikTok.
Parenting a teen’s digital life can be daunting, which is why we offer caregivers meaningful ways to set guardrails with their teens on TikTok.
Our Family Pairing features let parents link their TikTok account to their teen’s to enable a variety of content and privacy settings. We encourage caregivers to discuss the Family Pairing features with their teens, and explain why they choose to turn them on. Even without Family Pairing enabled, parents can help their teens enable our app’s Screen Time offerings including Daily Screen Time, and Restricted Mode, which are protected by a passcode set by the parent or guardian. These settings may vary depending on your region and version of the app.
- Private account
- Comment on Videos
- Direct Messages
- Daily Screen Time
- Restricted Mode
Safety and privacy tools
We invest in tools and resources to help parents, guardians, and families support their teens online. Learn more about the settings that let you manage your family’s TikTok experience.
Online safety: 5 tips from teens
At TikTok, we are committed to working in partnership with parents and caregivers as you support your teen’s digital journey. Parents tell us it can feel overwhelming to keep up with evolving trends and new platforms, so we want to help simplify things by offering parents insight on the support teens really value from trusted adults—and who better to advise on what they need than teens themselves!
This is what they told us:
“Help me understand the rules”
Teens don’t expect trusted adults to be experts on every platform, but they value support to set up their accounts. This includes help with checking and understanding privacy and safety settings. They also told us parents shouldn’t be afraid to set boundaries; teens expect and even welcome them! Safety tools like TikTok’s Family Pairing features allow families to set parameters, which are especially important while teens are starting out online.
“Be available to chat”
Teens want trusted adults to be interested in their digital life and to recognize how important it is to them. Teens feel supported when they know they have an ally that is available to talk to them. Don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation. They appreciate hearing you understand things can go wrong online and you’ll be there to help if they do—no matter how big or small the problem.
“Don’t panic when things go wrong”
Your teen has come to you for help—fantastic! They may be feeling vulnerable, scared, embarrassed, or upset, so let them know how happy you are that they’ve reached out. When they share their problem, be mindful of your reaction; teens told us being met with anger means they will avoid asking for help again. Equally, teens don’t want adults to minimise their worries—even if it’s hard to understand why it’s causing so much angst. Listen without recriminations, ask questions, and focus on solutions. If they’ve broken rules, teens expect there to be consequences, but they also want help to understand what to do differently to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Teens get that trust has to be earned, and they expect adult oversight—especially for younger teens. Just as in the “real” world, teens feel greater autonomy is appropriate as they get older. Every family is different and the pace at which a teen moves toward independent use of technology will vary, but if your teen knows how to navigate platforms safely and they come to you when things go wrong, that’s a great foundation for trust.
“Respect my privacy”
Striking a balance between a teenager’s expectation of privacy and ensuring they are safe is one of the trickiest aspects of parenting—on and offline. It can be tough when a teen tells you they’d rather you didn’t follow them on a platform. It’s natural to worry they’re up to mischief, when really it’s likely they just want some space to hang out with friends without being monitored. There may be good reasons why you feel following your teen’s account is necessary. If so, teens say they want to understand your reasons and to explore ways to build trust. Older teens told us they feel protective of younger siblings and cousins and naturally look out for them online, so consider whether there’s someone else who your teen might be happy to have follow them in your place.
To learn best practices for personal privacy, account security, and how to be a good digital citizen, visit our Youth Portal. Below you’ll find additional resource materials from our Safety Partners: