Seventy percent of teens are on TikTok, the hottest new social media app. But what if I told you TikTok was more than just a GenZ phenomenon? There's plenty for parents to love about the app, too!
If you pay any attention at all to the news, you've heard about TikTok. There are plenty of news articles that talk about the political uproar that surrounded the platform in 2020, but that's not what we're here to talk about today. If you have a GenZ tween or teen, you can safely bet that they're aware of TikTok at the very least. According to research from Statista, 7 in 10 U.S. teens use TikTok at least once a month.
What the heck is TikTok?
But TikTok isn't just for kids—it has some great benefits for parents, too! But before I talk more about them, let's start at the beginning. What the heck is TikTok?
Nearly two years ago, when my now 15-year-old daughter began using this popular app, I didn't have a clue what it was. I observed her recording crazy dance moves on her smartphone while lipsyncing to hip-hop songs. I asked her what she was doing, and she cheerfully replied, "TikToking!"
As someone who primarily thrives in the world of Facebook, I had no idea that TikTok was the hottest new social media platform. I soon learned that TikTok (originally called musical.ly) is a social network for sharing user-generated videos. And just like what I experienced with my daughter, a lot of those videos are of people lip-syncing or dancing to popular songs.
CommonSenseMedia.org's article, the Parents' Ultimate Guide to TikTok, is an incredible resource. It answers practically any question you might have about this hot social media app. The article explained the gist of TikTok like this:
TikTok users sign up with a phone number, an email address, or a third-party account such as Facebook and Instagram. Once logged in, you can search popular creators, categories (comedy, animals, sports), and hashtags to find videos. Or you can use your phone contacts or social media followers to find friends already on the app. Many kids on TikTok like to create videos, but plenty of people don't post themselves—they use the app to find and follow content creators.
Once I understood this app, I was eager to check it out for myself. Within a few days, I realized what all the hype was about. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed TikTok! It was not only entertaining, but I also found I was learning on it as well. Here are five fun and practical ways TikTok can liven up your parenting world.
5 reasons for parents to use TikTok
Using Tik Tok keeps you tuned in with your kids
Many parents search for ways to connect with their kids. When you find some common ground in their social world, it's a huge win.
Two ways I've been able to tune in to my kid's interests have been reading the same books they do as well as viewing the popular flicks they regularly watch. Both of these allow for more effortless conversations. They're excited to chat about things they're passionate about, and I'm in the know because I'm following their trends and doing my best to learn more about their preferences and choices.
Enter TikTok! I've found another way to get a glimpse into their world. I can join in their conversations because I'm a bit more in the know. Because of the way TikTok's algorithms track our individual viewing preferences, my kids and I don't have the same TikToks showing up on our for-you page. But there's enough cross-over that we can always find some common ground to talk about.
This quick guide from ConnectSafely.org can help parents monitor their children's TikTok use.
TikTok is quick and easy
Another benefit to using TikTok is that it isn't as much of a time drain as other social media platforms. (Well, sort of!) A single recorded TikTok video lasts just 15 to 60 seconds, so creators have to pack a lot of entertainment or educational value into a short clip!
It's easy to bookmark favorite videos on TikTok. Here's a helpful video to show you how.
If you're new to TikTok, just using the app and favoriting or interacting with the videos you like will help the algorithm learn your preferences. Want to watch people create fantastic art or unique crafts? Explore creators' musical talents and collaborations? Learn a new dance? It's all there! You can even learn cool language and grammar tips from our own grammar celebrity and the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips, Grammar Girl.
You can find delicious recipes
The best find for me on TikTok was discovering the hundreds of mouthwatering recipes! When I have a few extra minutes to hang out on the app, you'll find me searching out delicious eats from those with simple ingredients to five-star gourmet treats. Best of all, I can search by hashtags, which saves lots of time.
Hashtags on TikTok work the same way as they do on Instagram and other social networks. They're a tool to organize content by category and help users share and search for content.
Many informational articles online share how easy it is to search hashtags on TikTok. Open the TikTok app and tap "Discover" on the bottom of the screen. This page will show you previews of videos tagged with hashtags that are trending. You can scroll through these to find something that interests you or search for a hashtag using the search bar at the top of the screen.
I've found some fantastic pasta recipes that have fast become family favorites, including Gigi Hadid's spicy vodka pasta, which you can find in this article, 32 TikTok Recipe Riffs That Are Easy to Make and Actually Taste Good! Yum!
TikTok can help you support local businesses
I've always loved to shop local. Whenever possible, I support my neighbors who have restaurants, shops, and services. TikTok encourages businesses to grow brand awareness by putting their homespun touch in a unique form of their advertisements. The TikTok algorithm considers the location of the user pairing local businesses with users in the same city and state.
I recently discovered a wonderful consignment store specializing in children's items because of their presence on TikTok.
Lifehack tips are plentiful on TikTok
Another super helpful benefit of TikTok is the hundreds of brilliant time and money-saving hacks you'll find. And they're usually presented in an entertaining way!
Again, if you search by hashtags, you'll easily find all kinds of creative ways to save time in the kitchen, your office, and even with your health and beauty routines. I've just discovered how to organize my google chrome tabs, create custom artwork using cotton swabs and a straw, and my favorite new hack: How to keep the many boxes of cereal my family eats from going stale. (You can check out that TikTok video here.)
Go ahead and give TikTok a try for yourself. Let me know what other valuable tips you glean on my Facebook page. (I haven't designed a Mighty Mommy TikTok page. Yet!)