Well-being guide

Updated: July 17, 2024

Your well-being, both online and offline, matters to us. We want you to feel in control of your TikTok experience and interact with technology in a way that feels right for you. To better support you and our wider community, TikTok partners with experts to develop toolkits for everyone to learn more about improving their well-being, and to build a supportive online community.

How to assess your digital well-being

Digital well-being refers to the state of one's mental and physical health in the context of digital or online activities. It includes how people interact with technology and the internet and supports having a healthy and balanced relationship with digital devices and online content.

Evaluating your digital well-being requires self-awareness. You can assess how your digital habits impact your physical and mental health by:

Reflecting on your screen time

Assessing emotional state after screen time

Paying attention to sleep patterns and quality

Assessing productivity after online activities

Assessing online engagement

Evaluating online privacy and security practices

Considering the content consume online

Tips for reflecting on Screen Time

As technology continues to complement our daily lives, we could all use ways to find balance in our digital well-being journey.

Created together with experts at Internet Matters, here are 7 questions to support you as you reflect on and create healthy and balanced digital habits together.

Before use
  • What do I want to get out of this time online?
    Do you want to connect with friends? Relax? Be entertained? Thinking about what you hope to get out of something before you start will make it easier to reflect on what is influencing your behavior and whether the experience worked out as you hoped.
  • Are there other things I should be doing?
    What do I need to prioritize? What is the best order to do things? Before starting an activity, this quick check-in can help ensure it won’t negatively impact another part of your day.
  • Will this activity enhance the rest of my day?
    Could you try out a recipe you saw online for dinner you are making for friends later? Could you create content based on your skills, experiences, or interests? Would a friend or family member be interested in being involved in what you’re doing? We make the most of what we do by thinking about how everything in our day might fit together.
During use
  • How am I feeling – at the start, during, and at the end?
    Has how I’m feeling changed? Do I feel better or worse? Do I feel how I expected to? What affected how I felt? Considering how you feel before, during, and after an activity is a great habit to get into and can help you be mindful of how it’s affecting your well-being, both positively and negatively.
After use
  • How did I spend my time?
    Did you learn something new? Did you watch a video someone else made? Did you create something yourself? Thinking about what we did, and not just how long we did something, can help us understand our motivations and be more conscious about our actions in the future.
  • Did I do what I set out to do?
    Did you have a plan and stick to it? Did you have no plan, and where did that take you? Did you expect to do what you did? What guided your actions? Reflecting in this way can help us understand our behavior and what can affect us.
  • Could my experience have been better?
    What went well? What didn’t go well? Why? Thinking about what could be done differently next time or what gave you the most joy in an activity can help you shape your next experience for the better!

Tools to support your digital well-being on the platform

The digital well-being features on TikTok help you — or a teenager under your care — be mindful of your time online. They also limit content that may not be appropriate for all audiences. These settings may vary depending on your region and version of the app.

Daily screen time is a feature that enables you to decide how much time you’d like to spend on TikTok each day. On TikTok, every account belonging to a user below age 18 is automatically set to a 60-minute daily screen time limit.

Screen time dashboard is an easy-to-access feature, providing visibility into how and when you are using TikTok. You can also opt-in for ‘Weekly screen time updates’ for these insights to be delivered straight to your inbox. This way, you can make more intentional decisions about your usage, and be more focused when you use it.

Screen time break is a feature that will prompt you to take a break after a certain amount of uninterrupted screen time, which you can set.

Restricted Mode is an option that limits the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all audiences. It can be switched on or off via your account settings. Restricted Mode is also one of the features that a parent can control directly when Family Pairing is turned on.

Here are some additional resources to learn more about digital well-being.

Supporting Distressed Community Members

The safety and well-being of our TikTok community members is our top priority. We all have a role to help each other stay safe and supported during mental health struggles.

When having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, people are most likely to reach out to friends and community members. Friends and community members are also likely to notice when someone is struggling. But do you know what to do when you see someone who could use help?

Research shows that some ways of offering support are safer and more effective than others. Below are some tips to help you respond to someone struggling with suicide or self-harm.

Signs of struggling

It is important to notice signs of struggling:

  1. Directly talking about suicide or self-harm, for example “I want to kill myself”, mentioning wishes or ways of ending their life, sharing videos of recent self-injury.
  2. Indirectly talking about suicide or self-harm. Sometimes people may use softer language, for example “I want the pain to stop”, “I can’t take it anymore”.
  3. Crying, talking about feeling upset, hopeless, anxious, and/or having trouble sleeping.
  4. Recent increases in recklessness and risk taking.
  5. Expressing distress over harassment and bullying comments.
  6. Expressing unusual difficulties with daily tasks such as sleeping, showering, or getting dressed.

Steps to CREATE a connection

How to respond to someone struggling? Follow these steps to CREATE a connection!

CALM
  • It is hard to respond effectively when you are feeling stressed. Before doing anything, take some deep breaths, relax your body, and calm your mind.
  • Remember that the responsibility for anyone else’s safety is not on you alone; others are available to help. You do not have to engage in these conversations if you do not feel ready to do so.
  • Think through what help you can provide safely and what resources exist. Consider reaching out to a helpline or trusted adult to talk through your concerns and help plan your response.
  • Some people find it helpful to collect and pen down their thoughts first.
RESPOND

Responding to someone who is struggling can help them feel less alone and more supported. Here are five options for responding:

  1. If you believe that someone’s life is in immediate danger, consider calling emergency services, a local crisis line, or professional medical help. It is best to do this with cooperation of the individual in crisis and to stay with them while they reach out directly for help.
  2. If someone’s life is not in immediate danger, consider reaching out to a trusted adult, local crisis line, or professional for help.
  3. If you see content that violates TikTok’s Community Guidelines, you can report it in-app by following these steps. Any info will be kept confidential and anonymous. In addition, the individual will be given local crisis resources.
  4. If you don’t feel comfortable responding privately, try publicly commenting to share free local crisis resources.
  5. If you feel comfortable talking to the person directly, continue to CREATE a connection – preferably via a private message, following these guidelines.
EMPATHIZE

Balance listening with asking open-ended questions. Acknowledge the person’s emotions and struggles, but avoid saying that suicide or self-harm is a helpful or normal way to cope. Try to keep the focus on the other person. While you may want to share your own struggles, this can lead to the other party to feel invalidated. Avoid jumping into problem-solving as this can be frustrating to the individual in crisis, since we are outsiders to their situation. Examples of empathetic responses:

  • “It’s hard to feel so stuck. Sometimes it can be tough to see how to move forward”.
  • “It sounds like you’re desperate for something to change. What do you wish were different?”
  • “Break ups can make you feel so alone and disconnected from people you care about! How have you been coping with it?”
ASK DIRECTLY

Research shows that asking about suicide does not put the thought into someone’s head or increase the risk. Instead, it can start a conversation that may help save their life:

  • If you are concerned, ask directly if they’re currently having thoughts about suicide or harming themselves., E.g. “Have you been thinking about killing yourself?” Even if you think someone is not serious, ask!
  • If they are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, ask if they have (i) access to methods to do so; (ii) a specific time; and (iii) a place in mind.
  • If they deny having thoughts of suicide, be careful not to respond judgementally. Try not to say things like ‘phew’ or ‘thank goodness’. It’s best to say something like ‘thanks for being honest’. This allows the person to know that if they were having those thoughts, you would be a safe person to talk with.
TAKE ACTION
  • Reducing access to methods of suicide and self-injury is one of the most effective ways to prevent self-harm. When able to do so safely, decrease access to anything that the person could use to harm themselves.
  • Identify a trusted contact whom the community member can reach out to if thoughts continue or worsen. If the community member is young, help identify a trusted adult, local crisis line, or professional; work together to brainstorm what they can say, and accompany them while they reach out directly to start the conversation. If they have a favorite teacher, this can also be a great person to reach out to.
  • Many people find it helpful to keep a custom list of 4-5 activities to automatically do when they’re struggling. If you’re supporting someone, try out activities together to see what helps! A list of activities could look like:
  1. Drink a glass of ice-cold water and focus on the sensations
  2. Take a long, warm shower
  3. Re-read your favorite book or listen to an upbeat song
  4. Text your friends to get support and/or ask about their day
  5. Reach out to a local crisis hotline to talk about your feelings
EMPOWER

Empower the community member to keep themself safe and to reach out for help:

  • Help decrease barriers to support by offering to research hotline numbers, therapists, or to keep them company as they talk to an adult.
  • Make sure they have the resources and tools to handle the ups and downs. For example, encourage them to keep a list of reasons for living, healthy activities that make them feel good, and contacts who can help them through rough patches. Recovery from suicide and self-harm isn’t always linear, it can be just making it through a day at a time.

Reminders

Remember, if you’re concerned, take the first step to CREATE a connection. You don’t need to wait for someone to reach out for you to show that you care.
Self-care is important and you matter too. No one can take full responsibility for the thoughts or actions of another person. You do not have to have these conversations if you are not prepared or in the right space mentally.
Resources are available, and you are not the only person responsible for a friend or community member’s wellbeing. Taking care of each other is a team effort – we can help people stay safe, feel more connected, and access the resources they need.

Resources

For further resources, including a list of free helplines for anyone struggling emotionally, check out the TikTok Safety Center.

This toolkit was developed with expert consultation from International Association for Suicide Prevention, Crisis Text Line, ThroughLine, Samaritans of Singapore and Samaritans (UK). Special thanks to Drs. Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, Rory O’Connor, Daniel Reidenberg, and Jo Robinson for their advice and research.

Disclaimer

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or ideations, please contact a healthcare provider or a suicide hotline immediately. The content contained in these guides and/or toolkits are for informational purposes and educational use only and are not intended to provide mental health or medical services.