State officials looking into TikTok: Talking Tech podcast

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Hey there listeners. It’s Brett Molina. Welcome back to Talking Tech.

TikTok is back in the news again. A coalition of at least eight state Attorneys-General are looking into whether TikTok is contributing to physical and mental health issues for teens and young adults. They’re also exploring whether the company has violated any consumer protection laws. My colleague Mike Snyder has written about this in a story that you can read on

We’ve seen this come up before because we’ve heard a lot of lawmakers talk about apps like Instagram as well, and Facebook, and talk about what kind of mental, physical impact are these social media apps having on kids. Of course, it raises a big question for parents. What do I do? Speaking as a parent, I think one of the biggest things you can do is just trying to be as involved as you can, as far as what your kids are doing online. It’s not perfect, because parents are busy. Parents have a lot going on, and you also want to be able to trust your kids, but at the same time, it’s really good to just be as involved as you can be in what they’re doing.

As you know, at TikTok, they do allow kids on the platform, but they curate the experience a little more. If you have a kid who’s between 13 and 15 for example, they default their accounts to private. Users have to approve their followers and allow comments, things like that. It’s a little more gated than it would be if just an adult had a TikTok account, and they went completely with no guardrails. But there obviously are kids that are younger that use the app, and even if they’re not using the app, another outlet a lot of kids use is YouTube.

YouTube has a lot of TikTok videos too. Even if you think your kid is not on TikTok, the app itself, they are viewing TikToks on YouTube and keeping up with all those trends. Again, as a parent, it’s difficult. Mike talks to some experts and spells out what it is that parents will see and just what to expect. I think one of the best ways to figure out what TikTok’s all about, is download TikTok. That’s how I learned. I saw a lot of people talking about it. I said, “I’m going to download the app, figure out what’s what it’s about.” I watch it. I love it. It’s fun. There’s a lot of elements to it that are great, that are entertaining. It reminds me of YouTube where you have all these really cool, fun videos. You have challenges, you have lots of different stuff, but again, it’s really good to familiarize yourself. Then in that way, when you have kids who maybe are on TikTok, watching talk videos, you have a better sense of what you’re getting yourself into.

If you’re okay with your kids watching TikTok, one thing to consider, and, and I’ve considered this with other platforms as well, is having some kind of joint account where you share an account. It’s under the parents’ name and everything, but you still have a sense of what they’re watching, or you get a better feel of what’s going on in the platform. You can know if they’re just watching videos, they’re not doing anything beyond that.

There’s a lot you can do it. Mike covers a lot of this. There’s also a really cool app called Bark, which you can put on if your child has a smartphone or an iPad or anything else. It monitors screen time. You can block certain apps, but also you can send alerts when your child comes across something that’s inappropriate. It’s one of the really good ways to do it.

But again, one of the best tactics, and Mike addresses this in the story, is just talking to your kids. Have a conversation, talk about what they like, what they don’t like, why they watch TikTok. Anything with social media really. One of the best ways to figure out what’s going on. You can read more of Mike’s story and get some more tips on what to do if your kids are on TikTok, and how to talk to them about it on

Listeners, let’s hear from you. Do you have any comments, questions, show ideas, any tech problems you want us to try to address? You can find me on Twitter @brettmolina23. Please, don’t forget to subscribe and rate us, or leave a review on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, anywhere you get your podcast. You’ve been listening to Talking Tech. We’ll be back tomorrow with another quick tip from the world of tech.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: State officials looking into TikTok: Talking Tech podcast






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