As 2020 wore on (and on!) I used Facebook as an outlet when hiding in the closet from the kids. I kept seeing videos from TikTok enter my feed. The media had some coverage of it as well, whether it was about trends, influencers’ presence on the platform, or a potential ban in the fall for political reasons.
Now, I’m from a generation that remembers life without the internet, but I also took part in its evolution as it invaded our daily lives and changed how we communicate and interact with others forever.
TikTok is reminiscent of when “The Facebook” became the juggernaut app that we know today, or when Pinterest landed on the scene, changed crafting and cooking, and generated the term “Pinterest Mom”.
By November I decided to find out what all the fuss was about, and now that I’m on the other side (though likely considered late to the game), I thought I’d share what I’ve discovered from a mom’s perspective.
To be candid, TikTok has become another part of my social media consumption, and while I’m not an active participant as I don’t post content, I’ve benefited tremendously from the videos and some of the creators on the app.
What is TikTok?
From Wikipedia: The TikTok mobile app allows users to create a short video of themselves which often feature music in the background, can be sped up, slowed down, or edited with a filter. The videos can be from 3 seconds to one minute, (three minutes for some creators). The average length is about 15 seconds long.
If you follow a user, that will be on your “Following” page. Otherwise, there is an algorithm that will feed your FYP (For You Page) based on your activity on the app and selections or preferences.
TikTok is Interactive
You can react to videos with options to “Stitch” or “Duet” someone’s video. To Stitch is to clip and integrate scenes from another video into your own. To Duet a video is to turn on your camera, and then a split-screen shows you reacting or interacting with another creator’s video.
Is there oversight?
While there are unlimited places you can go on TikTok related to content, the app is still moderated and videos can and will be removed. Some of the top reasons for removal are the following: harassment and bullying, hate speech, illegal activities, minor safety, and violent and graphic content.
Is it kid-friendly?
That’s up to each parent to decide. The content is incredibly broad and can contain adult language and themes. However, there are Parental Controls. TikTok now allows parents to “pair” their device with their child’s device in order to control privacy, searching, content, and more.
Specifically, parents can:
- Set your child’s profile to private
- Restrict duets (which is when someone grabs your TikTok and sings alongside in their own version)
- Toggle off the search tool
- Limit comments on your child’s videos
- Enable comment restrictions
- Turn off the ability for other users to see your child’s “likes”
- Enable content restrictions with Restricted Mode
- Set a daily time limit with Digital Wellbeing
- Limit direct messages (DMs), which are unavailable for children under 16 – get that birthday correct!
One of the biggest takeaways from TikTok is that while some social media posts seem to show the beautifully aesthetic homes and well-behaved children, I’ve seen the most relatable and realistic videos so far on this app. My husband and I used to ask each other, “Are we the only ones dealing with this?” when it came to behavior issues, messes, figuring out how to approach yet another adventure in parenting, so on and so forth. I can say with a resounding NO that we are not alone, and I have the musically-backed videos to prove it!
I’ve chosen to utilize TikTok as a source of positivity and useful information.
My FYP is full of hilarious and heartwarming videos from Mom creators, amazing dance content, and more. Here’s a list of how TikTok can provide entertainment, reassurance, ideas, and insight into so many lives:
- Unlimited hilarious motherhood content
- *“Oh No” will become stuck in your head!
- Amazon Finds
- Home décor
- Meal prep
- Air Fryer
- Amateur Cook & Professional Chef videos
- Body Positivity
- Mental Health
- Dad Advice
- Sleep Training
- Special Needs Kids
- Infertility/TTC/Pregnancy Loss
- Working from Home
- Workspace Organization
- Virtual Learning while Working from Home
- Job Search/Interviews
- Improving communication
- Profession Groups
By personalizing my TikTok feed and focusing on the parts that make it a positive or enlightening experience, I’ve found it to be informational, hilarious, and also incredibly empowering as a woman and mother. It’s not without tragedy, loss, and sadness as well. There are other women who put themselves out there to connect with others that they may never have encountered on other platforms. They share about their families, successes, and heartbreaks. The music and sentiment that can be shared triggers so many different responses which is a testament to the variety and impact of the app.
If you’re looking for love, positivity, and laughter for moms, you might want to check out TikTok. All the “cool” moms are doing it!
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