0:00:03 – Speaker 1
Hey, this is Mandy and Kim with nextTalk, where we are passionate about keeping kids safe in the digital world.
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0:00:30 – Speaker 1
And check out our resources while you’re there. More than cyber parenting conversations to connect. We did a show on TikTok a while back, I think it was 2019. The app was relatively new back then and we immediately knew it was going to be a popular one.
0:00:48 – Speaker 2
Oh yeah, anything with quick videos and cats dancing, it’s going to be popular.
0:00:54 – Speaker 1
Well, any kind of dancing right. You put music and dancing together. You got happy, absolutely, absolutely.
0:01:00 – Speaker 2
And it’s a fun app.
0:01:01 – Speaker 1
Well, and I actually love to see like I’ve seen parents, like moms and daughters, do little dances together. I just think it could be used for a great bonding time. It could have a lot of bad content, too that we need to be aware of, and I will tell you in my personal opinion. So I have a daughter, she is almost 17. And we’ve watched through a lot of social media platforms, one at a time, you know. First it was Instagram, then it was Snapchat, then it was Twitter. You know we’ve really walked through the platforms.
She got TikTok last because of all the content Like there was so much content there And I will tell you, out of all of them, it’s affected her the most, like I feel like it’s the most addictive. I haven’t quite put my finger on why, and I’ve been asking my kids and talking to other moms, you know, just trying to figure it out, like what is different about this app And on the influence show that we did recently I told you about a parent who said, like her 15-year-old daughter said, i’m a totally different person than I was six months ago since you let me have TikTok. It’s opened me up to new ideas and thoughts that I didn’t even know was out there. I mean, that’s alarming.
0:02:15 – Speaker 2
That really surprised me when you shared that story. I mean, yes, TikTok seems very addictive. We’ve experienced it in our own home. My husband doesn’t do social media And yet when he downloaded TikTok because he likes to know what the kids are doing on the campus where he’s an administrator and that was a huge one Even he was like oh my goodness, there’s something different about this platform. It’s something we wanted to delve into and do another show on for a couple of different reasons. There are some new features that we want to share with you, But as we prepared for the show, we also thought it was important for you to hear from a teenager who’s on this platform and who can share her perspective, And so Mandy sat down with her daughter to give us a little insight.
0:02:56 – Speaker 1
You told me the other day I think it’s super addictive, more than the other ones. Why do you think so?
0:03:02 – Speaker 3
So TikTok is incredibly addictive. Most of the videos that are on the platform are 15 seconds to a minute, so you can be scrolling on there and see hundreds of videos and be on there for hours without even realizing it. It’s so engaging. We have the likes and the comments. Even just like. I’ve spent a good amount of time, if I find a video, i like just scrolling through the comments seeing what people are saying that’s funny or stuff that I agree with. I have a lot of friends that will just like send TikToks to each other. No-transcript Like. You feel like you need to be on there to know what’s going on in the world, which sounds silly, but in a teenager’s society, we feel the need to know what’s going on and feel included in the community.
0:03:59 – Speaker 1
You told me the other day trends are made on TikTok. Absolutely, That’s what you meant by that. You need to know what the trends are in the world, and that’s how you do by beeping on TikTok.
0:04:10 – Speaker 3
Yeah, i would say. Tiktok is absolutely where trends are born, and they’re changing every day, whether it be fashion or comedy, or music, everything.
0:04:21 – Speaker 1
On our last show we talked about the aesthetics on TikTok, which is your trend, your style kind of thing, and how that is just viral and how it boxes you in. We did a show on influence that you can go listen to, about how it’s not only just your clothing style but it can impact your political beliefs, your sexuality, all sorts of different things to label you a certain way.
0:04:43 – Speaker 3
Absolutely, Especially with fashion. Obviously, fashion is ever changing. I think the main difference and the reason TikTok is so influential is because on Instagram you have to follow people to see what they’re posting, what they’re wearing, what they believe. On TikTok, you just have your For You page and that is people all over the world sharing what they believe about things. That could be a great thing. You’re getting exposed to different perspectives and gaining an ability to I don’t know, I see different sides of issues or just seeing different sides of.
0:05:19 – Speaker 1
But this is a public account. If you’re a private account, you’re seeing less.
0:05:24 – Speaker 3
No, you can put parental restrictions on. You did that a few months ago and it did nothing. It took away my follower page. Actually, you have a For You page and a following page. Your following page is just videos of people that you follow. Your For You page is videos that TikTok recommends and they collect your data and they collect. They see what videos you like, how long you spend watching each video. They put that together and find videos that they think will keep you watching longer. It’s a system.
0:05:56 – Speaker 1
Thank you. This is so helpful because they do have new parental controls, but we don’t know how much they’re actually filtering. We want parents to be aware of that. And then Kim and I have some other stuff that we want to talk about with TikTok. We’re going to dive into that. But I appreciate your information and you take in the time to explain it to us from a teen perspective. Thank you for having me. I’m so thankful that my daughter is willing to talk with me and answer my questions and enlighten me.
Y’all saw, i didn’t know the difference between a private and public account If that affected the news feed. She’s continually teaching me. That’s a perfect example of how we always want to be asking our kids Tell me how this works, tell me about this, because it helps us understand their online world better. But I will tell you. I thought I was prepared for this show really well. I had done a lot of research. I’m on TikTok, like all the things, and as I was listening to my daughter, i had a revelation like a light bulb moment, and that was this She said the content is different on TikTok because it’s not who you follow This TikTok determining what videos show up on your feed.
You know, on instagram she follows people she knows in real life. She follows pastors, good influencers that i’ve, you know, suggested she follow, and we have A little bit of control over their content now. There’s still ads there, still promotions on there, but for the most part it’s not instagram telling her what to look at. It would be more like instagram discover section for snapchats, discover section, which, when my kids first get social media, they’re not allowed to look at. That like it’s only the people you follow and i trust them. You know, i’m like that’s where the bad content is and you could be exposed to things you’re not ready for yet. But the way she said, it’s like taking that discover section and putting it on your news feed. Right.
0:07:55 – Speaker 2
It’s like they are determining who you are based on a couple of videos you’ve watched. You don’t choose who you follow they do in preparation for the show.
0:08:05 – Speaker 1
I also just read an article on mashable. The title was something like this like tiktok knew i was bisexual before i did, yes, and it was all about and we talked about this on the influence show aesthetics like cottage core and that kind of thing. I’d like that kind of stuff. So it was feeding me Bisexual content, because that’s what. So we’ve got an app now telling our kids who they are. We got a problem.
0:08:30 – Speaker 2
We really need to clarify that, cuz it’s such a huge thing and so many kids are on tiktok. this is one, as far as we know, the most popular app that does this, in that Whatever your kids watch, even if it’s just one video, that will determine content that’s fed to them in the short videos that you just scroll, scroll, scroll, as long as they’re sitting on the app sometimes for hours, and so you can imagine that’s got to influence them.
0:08:55 – Speaker 1
So and on our influence show. This is how this all ties together. We were talking about these aesthetics and how it goes beyond a fashion trend. So if you’re, if you’re clicking on cottage core stuff, then tiktok is saying, okay, this is for the bisexual people and for people who vote this way, so we’re gonna fill their content with this kind of stuff right and kids are curious, so, you know, different things pop up on their for you page and they’re like click it.
Well, if they click that video And spend any amount of time watching it, and then the algorithm picks it up and then feeds them that continual content, so it becomes like oh, this is who. I am Right. And it just made perfect sense to me, because my first exposure to tiktok was back in 2019 and a family contacted nextTalk, and they were like, oh my gosh, something’s happening And they had allowed their elementary age daughter to have tiktok on their phone. Now, if you remember, tiktok used to be musically and so it was cute little you know dancing app, just like tiktok is. They had a private account and little girl would post innocent dances, nothing sexual, anything like that. This little girl asked her parents to take her account public, just so she could get some more comments and interaction with people, and the parents said no, no, no. And then one day they said well, you’re asking. Thank you so much for asking, will try it. And within hours They got a video back of an old man masturbating to her video gross so they contacted me.
I downloaded the app that day, started doing research, you know, went to that account and since then every time i get on tiktok there’s these crazy sugar daddy, highly sexualized content. But when my daughter downloaded tiktok it was recipes, artwork, funny dances, like not sexualized, and i couldn’t put my finger on it. I was like, why is my tiktok So different than my daughter’s tiktok? like i don’t understand. And literally just when she was speaking just now, in that through that interview, it all came together for me. I can’t believe it’s taking me this many years to figure it out. It’s the they’re controlling the content that they’re feeding you right.
0:11:15 – Speaker 2
so, if i’m remembering correctly, you downloaded tiktok, you checked out this girls site and it was within that day that you are fed all of this nasty content, and it has not stopped that’s.
0:11:29 – Speaker 1
What’s so weird is that the algorithm started right away. It wasn’t like i had been doing research for days and days and days and trying to find sexualized content, inappropriate stuff. It was like an immediate thing when i downloaded, it was the eerie is thing and i didn’t think anything of it. I just thought tick tock is a bad app. But then i would talk to my friends and they’re like i love it, this is the client, and they would send me their tick tocks and i’m like why are they’re so fun?
and mine are so dark. What is wrong with?
0:11:59 – Speaker 2
me, for me, where i go is that our kids could come across just one thing, or look at just one thing, even by accident, and that will change their tick tock feed forever. and because tick tock is so addictive in the videos are so rapid and you see so many in a short amount of time. can you imagine what that’s doing to their brains?
0:12:21 – Speaker 1
It’s sending them down a rabbit hole and it’s boxing them in and labeling and determining who they are. And so for this reason, i mean i’m telling you, i plead with you and you guys know i’m not anti tech look at all the social media platforms that my kids have. Right, please save this one for when they’re older and you can really help them through that. It is scary to me. This one alarms me more than any of the other platforms.
0:12:49 – Speaker 2
So we’ve given you our warnings and you know shared from a team perspective, what’s good and what’s alarming about this app. But if you’re at the point where you decided to allow your kid to have tick tock, it’s always good to use as many tools in your tool belt as you can, and so we want to use the show also to inform you of some new parental controls on tick tock.
0:13:10 – Speaker 1
Yeah, i mean, i’ll give it to them. They did come out with new parental controls so you pair up their phone so they can’t turn any of the parental restrictions off, which i love, i love that idea for instagram.
I can be logged into my kids accounts on my phone, so that’s a cool thing. But with tick tock it’s a little different. So you create parents, you create your own account, your own tick tock account on your phone, and your kids will have their separate account on their phone and what you’re going to do is link them on your phone. When you’re on the parent account, you click on me in the bottom right corner And then in the top right there’s those three little dots. Always look for that.
In an app that can manage your settings. You can go kind of deeper in figure out. Are there any Restrictions that i can set here? so click on those three dots and go down to family pairing, okay, and then you’re gonna click on add account and then follow the instructions. You will have to have your teenagers phone right next to you. There is a qr code that you’ll have to scan And it’ll walk you through what you need to do. But i did it and it was real. It was pretty simple to do as long as i had access to both phones, and we tried it and, as you heard with my daughter, she didn’t really see a difference in the content that she was getting.
Yeah so that’s our experience. I would use it if your kids are on tick tock.
0:14:29 – Speaker 2
Set these restrictions, you know, use them for sure you’ve heard us say this before with all apps and social media, with anything, there are loopholes. so You really have to stay connected with your kid, be in their world, know what’s going on with their social media presence and don’t take your hands off the wheel. So we’ve talked a lot about the content on TikTok and we told you about the new feature with the parental controls, but with any online presence for your kid. We want to have that conversation with you about predators, online strangers and sex traffickers.
0:15:03 – Speaker 1
Yeah, i mean, if your kids are interacting online at all, whether it’s just roblox or, you know, instagram you need to be having conversations about online strangers. We are seeing grooming, a lot of grooming. We did a show on this, specifically on how grooming happens in person and online. You can go listen to that show, and there’s also an online manipulation show. That’s really good. That goes into details about how it happens online. But you know, one of the main things you want to say is, if anyone you don’t know in real life ask for your name, address, school, church, anything like that, it’s just a red flag alert. Come tell me. It may be nothing.
How I’ve seen TikTok be more influential in this space is, again, the videos. They’re just so addictive. And so here’s an example During COVID, you know everybody’s going crazy, stir crazy, and all of a sudden there were these viral cute pen pal TikToks. And when I say pen pal, i mean like old school, like handwriting letters, and they would be themes. I mean think about how mom scrapbook and put that onto pen pals. That’s what was happening. Like we were making trips to Hobby Lobby to buy the cute little tape and you know all the cute little paper. We got a you know wax melt for the seal, like all the stuff, all the fun stuff. But these videos were so cute and they’re aesthetic and all these kids were bored And so I went to this one.
It had hundreds of thousands of views and comments. I mean it was crazy And everybody was just putting their address in the comments Like, yeah, i want to be a pen pal. Crazy. And it’s like they just got caught up in the moment And I immediately, you know, went to my daughter and I was like, oh my gosh, and she’s like I could totally see how that could happen, because it’s so fun, like I want to do pen pals.
0:16:58 – Speaker 2
Well, and if you’re not having conversations with your kids about things that are okay to post and share, they wouldn’t know any different. They share everything. So it would seem completely safe and normal to share your address and location.
0:17:12 – Speaker 1
Yeah, and my daughter I mean, she really wanted to get involved with this whole pen pal thing. So we came to a middle ground. I was like I’m so excited You want to write letters. I think it’s a great way to spend your time during COVID, like I was praising her for that. But I said we just can’t give our address out to people we don’t know, even through a DM or in a comment like this. So who are some families that have moved away? or you have friends that are getting ready to start college? you know, let’s get their address, let’s stay in touch with them that way. And that’s what we did, like people we knew in real life. But it was just another reminder that they get just swept up in the cute little video and the oh so cute And just give out personal information. This could be very dangerous.
0:17:54 – Speaker 2
Okay, so we’ve covered a lot today, but here’s a few things for you to remember. Tick tock content is different than other social media. Tick tock determines all your content on the for you page. Use family pairing, parental controls and set restrictions, but realize there are loopholes. Don’t take your hands off the wheel and talk about predators, online strangers and sex traffickers. Open communication is the first line of defense and keeping our kids safe.
Transcribed by https://podium.page