Software Version: 33.8.0
Edition: 2024

TikTok, a social media platform for young people with short, creative videos, has received a growing list of criticism, including allegations that TikTok illegally collected private information of children using the app in 2019 by the FTC, which violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The parent company, ByteDance, agreed to pay the Federal Trade Commission a $5.7 million settlement 

TikTok’s content and algorithmic features can pose serious risks to children’s mental health and overall well-being – for example, by allowing inappropriate content such as sexual material, violence, and drug use.  TikTok recommends videos that can be extreme, provocative, and toxic. Such content may exacerbate mental health issues for children and teenagers. For example, if a child is struggling with suicidal thoughts, being exposed to videos depicting suicide or glorifying self-harm can be harmful; teens dealing with eating disorders may encounter video clips of self-induced vomiting or unreasonably strict diets, which can worsen their condition. TikTok conversations about mental health concerns may lead to dismissive or sarcastic comments, bullying, or even encouragement of harmful behavior.  Warning kids about potential dangers—such as harmful content, bullying, and lurking sexual predators—is crucial, and regular monitoring of a child’s TikTok activities is essential. 

Protecting your child’s privacy and safety on TikTok is an important step to ensure they are safeguarded from potential cybercriminals and to ensure that they have a safe and positive experience on the popular app. This guide will provide steps to properly configure your child’s privacy settings on TikTok. It’s encouraged to set these settings to be as private as possible and to do so with your child present to allow for open communication and questions. 

Privacy Settings

TikTok requires users to be at least 13 years old. TikTok is primarily a mobile or tablet app, though you can log in on a browser. The following steps are for a smartphone or tablet.

  1. Log in to your child’s TikTok account.
  2. Select the Profile icon in the lower right-hand corner.
  3. Select the three-line icon in the upper right-hand corner, then select Settings and Privacy.
  4. Here you will see a Family Pairing option, which allows you to manage and update available controls. Your child will also need to pair with your personal device. Accessing both devices at the same time is the most efficient option to complete pairing.
  5. Return to Settings and Privacy and select Screen Time. Here you can adjust screen time settings and notifications.
  6. Return to the Settings and Privacy screen and select Privacy. Here you can adjust all privacy and contact settings for the profile, comments, mentions and tags, direct messages and more.
  7. Return to Settings and Privacy and select Content Preferences. This menu allows you to filter specific keywords and turn on Restricted Mode, which limits the likelihood of an inappropriate video appearing in your child’s For You Page. The For You Page, or FYP, describes the primary content stream on TikTok’s homepage.