“Our mission is to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone.
With more than millions of users worldwide, it is the fastest growing platform around and chances are someone you know is already using the app, or they will be soon. You might have noticed TikTok videos appearing in your Facebook feed, but maybe not have realised that TikTok is a standalone platform too.
Many viral videos originated on the platform and there are millions of clips ranging from comedy sketches to pranks to users lip synching to their favourite tunes.
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Whether you fancy diving in and creating content with the myriad of filters, stickers and augmented reality features or you simply want to know more about the app that is entertaining people around the world, here is The Dadsnet’s guide to TikTok.
TikTok – The Basics of Watching Video
When you download TikTok, you can sign up, if you wish, or you can jump right in and start watching the stream of videos curated for you in the main feed. At first these will come from an array of users in all manner of different styles, but the app begins to understand and learn the sort of content you enjoy the more you view, like and interact.
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You can search for specific keywords or hashtags and follow people you know or admire, whose videos will then appear in the ‘Following’ feed.
The video you watch will loop around again when it reaches the end, and you can swipe up to find the next clip or down to return to the previous one. There are options to ‘like’ the video, comment on it or to share it to another social network, in an SMS, via Whatsapp and to a number of other outlets too.
You can also hit the spinning record icon to find out about the music playing on the video and see a list of the other TikToks in which it is used.
The users are a mixture of teens, grown-ups and even grandmas, including comedians, sports stars and brands who are trying to harness TikTok’s huge pull to put themselves in front of millions of potential new fans.
If you don’t like a type of video that comes up in your feed, hard tap on the screen and you can hit the ‘Not Interested’ button. If you have teenagers, you can only imagine how much they wish they could use that feature when you’re trying to impart important information to them and possibly vice versa…
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How to Make TikTok Videos
Many users are happy just to watch the products of others’ imaginations, but you might also want to create your own videos. In this case, hit the + sign at the bottom of the screen and bring up the camera.
You can record yourself for up to 15 or 60 seconds, add a number of photos into a series of template video presentations or upload content from elsewhere.
The 4 main areas of creativity to explore are:
Speed – You can set the speed of your video
Filters – Choose a filter to make an even cooler video.
Effects – There will be hundreds of stickers waiting for you if you tap the effects button on the bottom of the screen.
Sounds – Tap “pick a sound” at the top to search for a suitable song.
There are hundreds of filters to choose from and backgrounds to add into your videos, allowing you to take full creative control. Also, and integral to the whole foundation on which TikTok is built is the soundtrack. You can pick this first so you can lipsync along, or add the music in later. There are thousands of licensed tracks, sound effects and themes to pick from, or you can upload your own as long as you own the copyright.
Almost endless possibilities to be creative!
Hit record, press stop when you’re finished and then add stickers to your post along with a description of your video, hashtags to help people find it and the tags of your friends if you want to alert them to it. Then you can post it. Simple as that.
Add Creativity to Your Videos
Where apps like Vine have previously fallen down is that they didn’t offer many ways to customise your content. With TikTok, that couldn’t be further from the case. The use of augmented reality is staggering. There is a filter that can change your eye colour when you blink, one that changes your hair colour, another that turns you into that parental arch-nemesis Peppa Pig, raindrop effects, slick transitions and so much more.
Anyone with a smartphone can unleash their inner-Spielberg thanks to the range of tools available at your fingertips.
Safety Features on TikTok
As a parent and as with all social platforms, you will obviously want to know about the safety features on TikTok.
Here are TikTok’s Community Guidelines which strictly prohibit the posting, sharing or promoting of any of the following:
Harmful or dangerous content
Graphic or shocking content
Discrimination or hate speech
Nudity or sexual activity
Child safety infringement
Harassment or cyberbullying
Impersonation, spam, or other misleading content
Intellectual property and workplace content
Other malicious activity
Keeping the community, specifically younger users, safe online is paramount nowadays and TikTok offers a number of brilliant ways to ease your constantly heightened parental fears.
- You can set accounts to private, so only approved friends can see the user’s videos and other details.
- You can also disable the ability for other users to find you in the search facility on the app.
These options are located in the Privacy and Settings menu accessed by tapping the three dots in the top right corner of your profile page.
- You can also limit who can comment on your posts, who can duet with you on lipsyncs (another popular feature of the app), who can react to your posts, who can send you messages and who can see the videos that you have liked.
- In addition, you can add problem users to your block list.
The digital wellbeing filters are also important safety features on TikTok. These can limit your screen time during the day and enable restricted mode, where the app filters out content from your stream that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
TikTok also have a built in ‘screen time’ limiter that you can set accordingly. It’s actually incredibly refreshing to know that Apps like this are making this kind of tool is easy to use.
There’s no denying that the safety features TikTok have developed are thought through and more sufficient than those of other social media platforms.
As part of the firm’s policy to foster a positive and supportive environment, there is a moderation team ready to investigate reports of harassment or other inappropriate behaviour.
When TikTok demonstrated the safety features to us, we were thrilled that they had seemingly spoken to parents, listened to their concerns and fears and acted accordingly.
So why not give TikTok a go today and you never know, you could be the next big viral video star. Or you could mess about pretending to be Peppa Pig. It’s completely up to you.