Tween filming herself as she lip synchs


This Is A TikTok-Free House, And My Tweens Won’t Be Getting Accounts Anytime Soon

Oct 5, 2020

“I saw this video on TikTok…” That’s how so many conversations with my two tween children begin now. They then proceed to tell me about what TikTok dance, cute animal video or TikTok celeb is trending today.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of TikTok. It’s an app that allows you to view or record short video clips. You can also like or comment on them.

Even though my kids aren’t allowed to have accounts on TikTok, they know everything there is to know about it.

"Unless I sit beside them and watch the content with them, I really have no idea what they are seeing."

My kids can sit for hours watching these video loops over and over and over. Most of it is mindless, quick gratification content. I have watched them swipe through videos for hours: cute puppies, dances, challenges and lip synching to pop music. They just keep wanting to see more and while a little mindless watching isn’t going to harm anyone at their young age, it can be hard to control. I would rather not fight with them over their viewing habits, so for our family, not allowing accounts makes the most sense.

Allowing kids to use any type of social media requires a big commitment from parents in terms of monitoring. Unless I sit beside them and watch the content with them, I really have no idea what they are seeing. It’s easy for me to claim ignorance and think that every video they see is a cute animal or a mom and daughter dance duo, but in between these seemingly innocent videos it’s easy for inappropriate content to show up. Content that their young minds aren’t ready to digest yet which could end up influencing them in a way that doesn’t align with our family values. 

There have been reports of videos containing drug use, discussions about sex, foul language, racism and inappropriate clothing. All things that I don’t think my tween children need to be exposed to, especially at such a high and fast paced volume.

The social media platform is also filled with challenges. While many of the challenges are fun things to do such as the flip the switch challenge or some of the dance challenges, others are downright dangerous.

Paula has discovered that a simple "no" often provides exactly what my teens need to feel safe. Read her POV here.

My 10-year-old daughter recently asked me if it was possible to change your eye colour. I thought it was an odd question, but told her it wasn’t possible. I didn’t think about it again until a few weeks later when I heard about a TikTok challenge where chemicals were put into the eye with the goal of lightening the colour.

Kids do silly things and they don’t always understand the potential consequences of their actions. I don’t need them to be pressured by a social media app to try these crazy challenges that they think are cool, but could potentially leave them or someone else seriously injured or cause damage to our home.

It also makes me uncomfortable to think of strangers watching videos of my kids, even when the clips are harmless. And sometimes even harmless can have consequences. Will my kids be sure that they aren’t somehow filming something that gives an indication of where they live? Will they realize that viewers can see the reflection in the mirror behind them and maybe they aren’t properly clothed?

"I don’t want my kids to waste these wonderful years scrolling through social media or posting videos and anxiously awaiting likes."

TikTok is a hotbed for predators who often use the messaging tool to reach out to kids. Human traffickers have allegedly used the app, even if their use isn't extensive. There are so many examples of grown men attempting to solicit pictures of young girls. Some might disguise themselves as kids or find a way to connect with them and slide into their lives. 

The hard part of making these decisions as a parent is that I remember what it was like to be a tween and to just want to be able to do the things that all my friends are doing. Kids don’t always see the potential dangers or when they are young, they think they can handle anything.

I’m also self aware enough to know that I don’t fully understand all of these technologies and it’s easy for things to slip by me.

They only have a few more years left in childhood and I want to try and encourage them to hold on to those years for as long as possible. I’ve watched my kids’ friends come over and spend the entire time sitting on their phone watching TikTok videos or attempting to make their own instead of interacting with the person sitting right beside them. I don’t want my kids to waste these wonderful years scrolling through social media or posting videos and anxiously awaiting likes. The need to fit in and be liked is such a huge part of teenage years, I don’t want them to take that pressure on too soon.

During the pandemic, her 13-year-old daughter started to suffer from insomnia. See how Laura handled it here.

I’m smart enough to know that when they are with friends they are watching the videos. I even know that they make some. So we continue the conversation about internet safety and we openly discuss the possible negative impact that social media apps like TikTok can have on their lives and their minds and I hope they hear those messages.

At the end of it all, they understand that our family rules mean no TikTok accounts for now. I know that time will come, but I will try my best to keep their lives social media free for as long as I can.

Article Author Natalie Romero
Natalie Romero

Read more from Natalie here.

Natalie’s passion for writing was reignited as she blogged her way through the pain of her son’s health issues and NICU stay. She is the wife of the world’s greatest foot rubber and mother to an amazingly loyal little boy and a fiercely independent little girl. An HR professional by day and a freelance writer and blogger by night, Natalie is getting a crash course in the juggling act that is the life of a working mother, though she does occasionally drop a ball or two! After spending much of her life trying to be perfect she has learned to rock her shortcomings and is not afraid to admit when she’s failed. This parenting thing can be tough and Natalie believes the best way to survive it is by keeping it real and by leaning on your tribe.

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