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.
To sign up for TikTok, you must first pass through an age gate to get you into the right TikTok experience. In the US, if you’re under 13 years old, you’ll be placed into our TikTok for Younger Users experience which has additional privacy and safety protections designed specifically for this audience. If we learn that a person under the age of 13 is using or posting content on TikTok without using TikTok for Younger Users, they will be removed.
TikTok can be downloaded from the App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and other official application platforms. We’ve given the app a 12+ rating specifically so caregivers can access the device-level Apple and Android controls built into your family’s devices. If you don’t want your teen to download our app, you can prevent them from doing so using the parental controls available via these stores.
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. These settings may vary depending on your region and version of the app.
- Private account
- Comment on Videos
- Direct Messages
- Screen Time Management
- 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: