Is your tween or teen on TikTok (Formerly Known as Musical.ly)? If you’re like me, your teen probably came up to you and asked to join. They explained that TikTok/Musical.ly lets them make silly sing-along videos to popular music. “It’s so much fun mama!” is what my tween told me after creating a silly video with a neighbor friend in 2016. After looking into it, I agreed, under the condition that they wouldn’t make the videos public and they wouldn’t talk to anyone on the app they don’t personally know IN REAL LIFE. I also required the password on the account to make sure I could go in and monitor it to make sure the rules were being followed. Flash forward two years. TikTok is banned in my house. My child’s innocence was taken, by an app. BY AN APP!
“That doesn’t go away after. That sticks in their heads
and a part of their innocence is gone…”
~Lisa, a Philadelphia Mom
I’m so careful to make sure I monitor everything. We homeschool so we don’t have to deal with a lot of the issues children in public school face. My child was innocent until being subjected to self-harm and sexual live videos (Live.ly) on TikTok. Often, these videos disappear when the live stream is over, but the imprint they leave on our children remains. Read Porn is Not the Worst Thing on Musical.ly. This article is NOT an exaggeration.
“There are #killingstalking musical.lys, which are dark-themed (artistic? emo?) videos showing boys putting knives to girls’ throats. There are #selfharm videos that show suicide options — bathtubs filling, images of blades, a child’s voice saying she doesn’t want to live any more. I saw a boy with a bleeding chest (yes, real blood). I saw a young girl whose thighs were so cut up I had to take a break from writing this article. A long break. The images are deeply upsetting. There are #cutter and #triggerwarning and #anorexic videos. Musers with eating disorders hashtag videos using proana (code for pro anorexia.) I found over eleven thousand #selfhate videos. It goes on and on. Each hashtag is its own magical wardrobe, a portal into a world where it’s always winter but never Christmas. It’s Narnia minus Aslan. Who then will save the children? Apparently, other children.”
If TikTok is still allowed in your home, pull the plug on it right away! I don’t mean you should try to monitor your child on it more closely, I mean, DELETE THE APP, block it at the router level, and block it again with your mobile service parental controls. DO NOT believe for one moment that this app and the content on it isn’t capable of ruining your child’s mental health and well being.
A friend of mine shares an experience with her child, that I share with mine. Our kids were even hospitalized at the same time. What do they have in common? Do they go to the same Church? No. Do they live in the same town? No. Have they ever met? No. But they both have 800+ followers on their self-harm and suicide channels on TikTok. When I asked her if her child also uses TikTok, she replied “All the time!”
When we think of suicidal children and children who self-harm, we think of the unpopular ones, the ones who are being abused physically or mentally at home, bad parents, tough family circumstances. We don’t think of the beautiful happy child sitting next to us. My child was happy. My child was someone who would tell me if their was something going on that was concerning or wrong. Before TikTok/Musical.ly, my child was the one who would have handed out the Suicide Awareness sticker, not tried to commit suicide. Please, don’t be me. Don’t think “Not my child” for a second. Don’t ignore the warning posts and news articles. TikTok is damaging children.
Learn more about self-harm and teen suicide.
- Musical.ly Is Struggling To Deal With Self-Harm Content
- Set up parental controls on Google Play
- How to use parental controls on your child’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod
Disclaimer: I am not trying to tell you how to parent your child, but I am trying to help you save their life. Please, please, please, don’t ignore our testimony. We are the family next door. Tomorrow, you could be me!