How Old Do You Have to Be to Have TikTok in 2024?

Are you wondering how old you need to be to join the massively popular social media app TikTok? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about TikTok’s age requirements and restrictions in 2024. We’ll also discuss why these age limits exist, how TikTok enforces them, and what parents should be aware of when it comes to their children using the app.

Key Takeaways

To recap, here are the key points about TikTok’s age requirements and considerations in 2024:

  • You must be at least 13 years old to use TikTok. This is a strict policy with no exceptions.
  • TikTok does not have a robust way to verify a user’s age, so some children under 13 may still access the app by lying about their birthdate.
  • Allowing a child under 13 to use TikTok violates the app’s terms of service. It’s up to parents to weigh the risks and decide if they want to permit this.
  • Risks of TikTok use for under 13 year olds include: exposure to mature content, interaction with strangers, cyberbullying, privacy concerns, and inappropriate music lyrics.
  • Whether TikTok is appropriate for 13-17 year olds depends on the individual teen’s maturity level and the level of parental supervision and involvement. Privacy settings and open communication are important for this age group.
  • Adult TikTok users 18+ can curate their experience by training the algorithm, using privacy settings, fact-checking information, and understanding data collection.
  • There is no upper age limit for TikTok, and the platform has seen significant growth in older users who find value in its diverse content and creative features.
  • No matter your age, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and community guidelines of TikTok to have a positive experience on the app.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-form video sharing app that allows users to create, watch, and share 15-second to 10-minute videos on any topic. Users can add music, filters, and other creative effects to their videos. The app features a personalized feed of videos powered by an algorithm that learns user preferences. TikTok has a diverse user base with content ranging from dance challenges to comedy skits to educational tips. Its popularity has skyrocketed since its global launch in 2018, especially among younger generations.

Why is TikTok 13+?

TikTok is intended for users 13 years and older primarily due to compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in the United States and similar regulations in other countries.

COPPA requires online services directed at children under 13 to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from these users. By setting the minimum age at 13, TikTok can avoid the additional responsibilities and potential liabilities associated with COPPA compliance.

Moreover, the app’s content and interactions may not be suitable for younger children. Some videos on TikTok may contain mature themes, language, or behavior that could be inappropriate or harmful for kids under 13. The age restriction helps ensure that users are developmentally ready to navigate the platform’s content and features.

However, it’s important to note that the age limit is not a foolproof solution. Some children under 13 may still access the app by misrepresenting their age during the sign-up process. As a result, parents should remain vigilant and involved in their children’s online activities, even if they are over the age of 13.

TikTok provides resources and tools to help parents and guardians ensure a safer experience for their kids on the platform, such as the Family Pairing feature, which allows parents to manage their child’s privacy and safety settings directly.

TikTok’s Minimum Age Requirement in 2024

As of 2024, TikTok requires all users to be at least 13 years old to create an account and access the full TikTok experience. This age requirement applies to all countries where TikTok operates.

If you try to create a TikTok account and enter a birthdate indicating you are under 13, you will receive an error message stating that you do not meet the minimum age requirement. You will not be able to proceed with creating an account.

Why Does TikTok Have a Minimum Age of 13?

The primary reason TikTok has set its minimum user age at 13 is to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in the United States. COPPA is a federal law that imposes certain requirements and restrictions on online services directed at children under 13 years of age.

Under COPPA, websites and apps must obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13. This includes things like name, address, email address, phone number, photos, videos, and geolocation data.

By setting its minimum age at 13, TikTok avoids having to comply with COPPA’s parental consent requirements. It’s a common approach taken by many social media platforms and online services to simplify their operations and avoid the added complexity and potential liability of dealing with younger users.

How Does TikTok Enforce Its Age Restriction?

When you create a new TikTok account, you are required to enter your date of birth. TikTok relies on users being honest about their age when signing up. If you enter a birthdate indicating you are under 13, you won’t be allowed to create an account.

However, it’s important to note that TikTok does not have a robust age verification system in place. Like most online platforms, there is no practical way for TikTok to confirm that the birthdate a user enters is accurate. This means that some children under 13 may still be able to access the app by entering a false birthdate.

TikTok has some systems in place to detect and remove accounts that may belong to underage users. This includes things like monitoring for child nudity or sexual exploitation imagery. However, these systems are not foolproof and many underage accounts likely still exist on the platform.

What Happens If TikTok Discovers an Underage User?

If TikTok discovers that a user is under 13 years old, they will delete the account. This may happen if:

  • The user or their parent contacts TikTok and asks for the account to be removed due to the user being under 13.
  • TikTok’s systems detect content that appears to come from an underage user, such as videos showing young children.
  • The account is reported by other users for potentially belonging to someone under 13.

When TikTok deletes an account for being underage, all of the content associated with that account (videos, likes, comments, etc.) is permanently removed. The user is not allowed to create a new account until they reach the age of 13.

Are There Any Exceptions to TikTok’s Minimum Age Requirement?

Currently, TikTok does not offer any official way for children under 13 to access the app, even with parental supervision or consent. There is no “kids version” of TikTok designed for younger users.

However, some parents of children under 13 choose to allow their kids to use TikTok despite the age restriction. They may do this by:

  • Letting their child use the parent’s TikTok account under supervision
  • Creating an account for their child using a false birthdate
  • Downloading TikTok videos for their child to watch without an account

It’s important to understand that these approaches violate TikTok’s terms of service. It is up to each parent to decide if they are comfortable allowing their under-13 child to use TikTok given the potential risks.

What Are the Risks of Using TikTok Under Age 13?

While TikTok can be a fun and entertaining platform for teens and adults, there are some risks to be aware of when it comes to children under 13 using the app:

1. Exposure to mature content

TikTok allows a wide range of content, some of which may not be appropriate for young children. This can include suggestive dancing, strong language, mature themes, and risky stunts or challenges. Even with the app’s 12+ content rating, kids may still encounter videos that are too mature for them.

2. Interaction with strangers

TikTok allows users to follow, comment on, and message each other. A child using TikTok could potentially interact with adult strangers through the app. This opens up risks of grooming, sexual exploitation, and other dangerous situations.

3. Cyberbullying

Like any social platform, TikTok has issues with users bullying and harassing each other through comments, messages, and video responses. Children are especially vulnerable to cyberbullying, which can have serious impacts on mental health and well-being.

4. Privacy concerns

When a child creates a TikTok account, even with a false birthdate, they are still sharing some personal information with the company and potentially other users. This may include their appearance in videos, their likes and interests, and their approximate location. Children may not yet understand the implications of sharing personal information online.

5. Inappropriate music

Many popular songs on TikTok contain strong language and mature themes in their lyrics. Even if a child is not intending to seek out this type of content, they are likely to hear snippets of these songs in the background of videos.

Is TikTok Appropriate for 13-17 Year Olds?

While TikTok’s terms of service allow teens between 13-17 years old to use the app with some additional privacy settings, whether it is appropriate for them is a personal decision for parents.

Here are some factors to consider:

1. Maturity level

Is your teen mature enough to navigate the potential risks of social media? Can they handle interactions with strangers, consume content critically, and use privacy settings wisely? Some 13 year olds may be ready for these responsibilities, while some 17 year olds might still need guidance.

2. Supervision and open dialogue

If you allow your teen to use TikTok, it’s important to stay involved and aware of their experience on the app. Have regular conversations about what they are seeing and creating on TikTok. Keep an eye out for signs that they may be struggling with negative experiences. Consider setting ground rules around when and how they can use the app.

3. Privacy settings

TikTok offers a number of privacy settings that can help protect teen users. These include:

  • Making the account private so only approved followers can see their content
  • Turning off direct messages
  • Filtering out comments that may be inappropriate
  • Setting screen time limits
  • Using Family Pairing to link the teen’s account to the parent’s account Walk through these privacy settings with your teen and discuss why they are important. Check in periodically to make sure the settings are still in place.

4. Alternative apps

If you feel that TikTok is not a good fit for your teen, there are alternative creative apps that may be more appropriate:

  • Songclip lets users create music videos using licensed clips of popular songs
  • VSCO is a photo/video editing and sharing app with a social component
  • Funimate and GlitchCam are TikTok-style video creators with a tighter content focus

Why it’s Important your Teen Provides their Real Date of Birth?

It’s important for your teen to provide their real date of birth when signing up for TikTok for several reasons:

  1. Age-appropriate content: TikTok uses the birthdate to determine which content and features to show users based on their age. If a teen enters a false birthdate, they may be exposed to content that is not suitable for their actual age.
  2. Legal compliance: TikTok is required to comply with various laws and regulations related to protecting minors online, such as COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) in the US. By providing an accurate birthdate, TikTok can ensure it is treating younger users appropriately under these laws.
  3. Privacy and safety features: TikTok offers additional privacy and safety protections for younger teens (ages 13-15). These include limitations on who can interact with their content, default private accounts, and family pairing options. Teens can only access these protections if they provide their true age.
  4. Parental involvement: If a parent wants to use TikTok’s Family Pairing feature to link their account with their teen’s for content and privacy controls, the teen needs to have entered their real birthdate for this to work properly.
  5. Trust and responsibility: Encouraging your teen to provide their real birthdate is a way to promote honesty and responsibility in their online interactions. It’s important for them to understand the reasons behind age restrictions and to respect them as part of being a positive digital citizen.

If TikTok discovers that a user has provided a false birthdate, they may take action such as removing the account. Therefore, it’s best for teens to be upfront about their age from the start.

What Types of Videos are on TikTok?

TikTok features a wide variety of short-form videos across numerous categories and genres. Some of the most popular types of videos on TikTok include:

  1. Dance challenges: Users create short dance routines, often to trending songs, and challenge others to recreate them.
  2. Lip-syncing: Users mouth the words to popular songs, movie dialogues, or famous speeches.
  3. Comedy skits: Users create short, humorous videos often involving acting, dialogue, and relatable situations.
  4. Tutorials and life hacks: Users share quick how-to videos on topics like beauty, cooking, home organization, or DIY projects.
  5. Talent showcases: Users display their skills in areas like singing, acting, art, or sports.
  6. Memes and trends: Users participate in viral meme formats or trending challenges that often involve a specific song, dance, or joke structure.
  7. Educational content: Users share informative videos on topics like science, history, or language learning in a concise, engaging format.
  8. Pet videos: Cute, funny, or heartwarming videos featuring users’ pets are very popular on the platform.
  9. Fitness and wellness: Users share workout routines, healthy recipes, self-care tips, and motivational content.
  10. Behind-the-scenes and day-in-the-life: Users give glimpses into their daily routines, hobbies, or professional lives.

These are just a few examples of the diverse content available on TikTok. The app’s users are constantly innovating new creative formats and trends, making it a dynamic and entertaining platform to explore.

Is TikTok Safe for Children?

TikTok can present some safety concerns for children, especially those under 13, due to the nature of the platform and its content. Some potential risks include:

  1. Exposure to mature content: Despite TikTok’s efforts to moderate, some videos may contain inappropriate language, suggestive themes, or risky behaviors that are not suitable for young children.
  2. Interaction with strangers: TikTok allows users to interact through comments, direct messages, and duets. This could potentially expose children to unknown adults with ill intentions.
  3. Cyberbullying: As with any social platform, TikTok users can face negative comments, harassment, or bullying from others, which can be particularly harmful to children’s self-esteem and mental health.
  4. Privacy risks: Children may not fully understand the implications of sharing personal information, photos, or videos on the app, which could compromise their privacy and safety.
  5. Excessive screen time: TikTok’s engaging, short-form content can be addictive, leading children to spend prolonged periods on the app at the expense of other activities.

However, TikTok does offer some safety features and parental controls to help mitigate these risks. The “Family Pairing” feature allows parents to link their child’s account to their own and manage privacy settings, screen time, and direct messages. Accounts of users under 16 are also automatically set to private.

Ultimately, parents should carefully consider their child’s maturity level and supervise their TikTok use. Open communication about online safety and setting clear boundaries are key. TikTok recommends the app for users 13+ and provides additional resources for parents to help navigate their child’s experience on the platform.

How to Keep your Child Safe on TikTok using Safety Settings

To help keep your child safe on TikTok, you can utilize the app’s various safety settings and parental controls:

  1. Enable Family Pairing: This feature allows you to link your child’s account to your own, giving you control over their safety settings. Go to your profile, tap the three dots, select “Family Pairing,” and scan the QR code on your child’s device.
  2. Set the account to private: This ensures that only approved followers can view your child’s content. Go to your child’s profile, tap the three dots, select “Privacy,” and toggle “Private Account” on.
  3. Restrict interactions: Under the “Privacy” settings, you can control who can comment on your child’s videos, duet with them, react to them, and send them direct messages. You can set these to “Friends” or “Off.”
  4. Manage screen time: In the “Digital Wellbeing” section of the settings, you can set daily screen time limits and a bedtime block to manage how much time your child spends on the app.
  5. Filter content: TikTok automatically filters out videos that may be inappropriate for young audiences. However, you can also set the app’s “Restricted Mode” to limit content further.
  6. Monitor your child’s activity: Regularly check your child’s profile, the videos they post, and the accounts they follow to ensure they are interacting with age-appropriate content and users.
  7. Discuss online safety: Have open conversations with your child about the importance of privacy, the risks of interacting with strangers online, and what to do if they encounter inappropriate content or behavior.

Remember, no safety settings are foolproof, and parental involvement is crucial. Regularly checking in with your child and maintaining an open dialogue about their TikTok experience is the best way to keep them safe on the platform.

How to Create a TikTok account?

To create a TikTok account:

  1. Download the TikTok app from the App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Open the app and tap “Me” in the bottom right corner.
  3. Tap “Sign up with phone or email” or select one of the other sign-up options (Facebook, Twitter, Apple, or Instagram).
  4. If using phone or email, enter your birthdate and phone number or email address. If using another platform, authorize TikTok’s access to your account.
  5. Create a password and username. Your username will be your @handle on TikTok.
  6. Add a profile photo and short bio if desired.
  7. Customize your privacy settings (private account, suggest account to others, allow downloads, etc.)
  8. Tap “Next” and start exploring TikTok!

Note: You must enter your real birthdate to create an account. If you are under 13, you will not be allowed to sign up. Some features are restricted for accounts under age 16 or 18.

How can you Make your TikTok Account Private?

To make your TikTok account private, follow these steps:

  1. Open the TikTok app and go to your profile by tapping the “Me” icon in the bottom right corner.
  2. Tap the three dots in the top right corner to access your settings.
  3. Under the “Account” section, select “Privacy.”
  4. Toggle on the “Private account” option.

When your account is set to private, only users you approve as followers can see your videos, likes, and following list. Your existing followers will not be affected, but new users will have to send you a follow request that you can approve or deny.

In addition to making your account private, you can also control specific privacy settings, such as:

  • Who can comment on your videos
  • Who can duet with your videos
  • Who can react to your videos
  • Who can send you direct messages
  • Who can view your liked videos

These settings give you more granular control over your privacy and interactions on the app. It’s important to regularly review and adjust your privacy settings to ensure you’re comfortable with who can engage with your content on TikTok.

Does TikTok Have Parental Controls?

Yes, TikTok offers parental controls through its “Family Pairing” feature. Family Pairing allows a parent or guardian to link their TikTok account to their child’s account, enabling them to manage various safety and privacy settings remotely.

To set up Family Pairing:

  1. Both the parent and the child need to have TikTok accounts.
  2. Open the app and go to the “Me” section.
  3. Tap the three dots in the top right corner to access settings.
  4. Scroll down and tap “Family Pairing.”
  5. Choose whether you want to set up the pairing via QR code or a link.
  6. Follow the instructions to link the parent’s and child’s accounts.

Once Family Pairing is enabled, parents can access the following controls for their child’s account:

  • Screen Time Management: Set daily time limits for app usage.
  • Restricted Mode: Limit the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
  • Direct Messages: Restrict who can send messages to the child’s account or turn off direct messaging altogether.
  • Privacy Settings: Control who can view the child’s liked videos, who can comment on their videos, who can duet with them, and who can view their videos.

Parents can also disable Family Pairing at any time from either phone. Family Pairing is a valuable tool for parents who want to ensure their children have a safe and age-appropriate experience on TikTok, but it’s still important for parents to have open conversations with their kids about responsible social media use.

How can I Monitor my Kid’s Activity on TikTok?

To monitor your child’s activity on TikTok, you can use a combination of the app’s built-in tools and regular communication with your child. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Set up Family Pairing: Link your TikTok account to your child’s account to manage their privacy and safety settings, control screen time, and restrict content.
  2. Regularly review their profile: Check your child’s TikTok profile to see what videos they are posting, what content they are interacting with, and who they are following.
  3. Have an open dialogue: Talk to your child about their TikTok experience, discuss the content they enjoy, and address any concerns they may have. Encourage them to come to you if they encounter anything inappropriate or harmful.
  4. Educate them on online safety: Teach your child about the importance of protecting their personal information, being cautious when interacting with strangers online, and recognizing potential red flags.
  5. Set guidelines and boundaries: Establish clear rules about when and how long your child can use TikTok, what types of content are appropriate for them to view and create, and what behavior is expected of them on the platform.
  6. Use parental control apps: Consider using third-party parental control apps that allow you to monitor and limit your child’s online activities across various devices and platforms.

Remember, open communication and trust are key. While monitoring your child’s TikTok activity is important, it’s equally crucial to foster a positive relationship where they feel comfortable coming to you with their concerns and experiences on the app.

Best Practices for Older TikTok Users

If you are 18 or over and choose to use TikTok, here are some tips to keep yourself safe and get the most out of the app:

1. Curate your feed

The TikTok algorithm will show you more of the types of videos you engage with. Like and follow creators whose content you enjoy. Long-press on videos you don’t like and select “Not Interested” to see less of that type of content. This will train your For You page to be a positive experience.

2. Use privacy settings

Take advantage of TikTok privacy features like:

  • Limiting who can see your likes and who you follow
  • Filtering out comments by keywords
  • Restricting your account to followers only
  • Disabling the “Let others find me” setting if you don’t want others to find you via your phone contacts.

3. Fact check and think critically

Remember that not everything you see on TikTok is true or real. Be skeptical of medical advice, “hacks”, conspiracy theories, and offers that sound too good to be true. If a video makes a surprising claim, take a moment to fact check it with reliable sources before sharing or acting on the information.

4. Control your data

Understand what data TikTok is collecting about you and consider whether you are comfortable with that. You can view and download your TikTok data report to see what information the company has collected. If you choose to use TikTok, consider limiting the additional data you provide, such as not connecting your Facebook account, not importing phone contacts, and being cautious about sharing your exact location.

5. Understand the community guidelines

TikTok has community guidelines that define what type of content and behavior is allowed on the platform. Major categories that are not allowed include:

  • Violent extremism
  • Hateful behavior
  • Adult nudity and sexual activities
  • Minor safety infringement
  • Suicide and self-harm promotion
  • Harassment and bullying
  • Dangerous acts and illegal activities Content that violates these guidelines can be reported and removed. Repeated violations can lead to account bans.

How Old Is Too Old for TikTok?

There is no official upper age limit for TikTok. Unlike some children’s apps that restrict use to certain age ranges, TikTok allows adult users of any age as long as they are over 13.

In fact, TikTok has seen a significant growth in older users in recent years. As of 2024:

  • 35% of TikTok users are between 30-49 years old
  • 13% of TikTok users are over 50 years old
  • The fastest growing TikTok age group is 55-64 year olds

This diverse age range is reflected in the variety of content on the app, from trendy dances to parenting tips to senior citizen humor. No matter your age, there is likely a niche for you on TikTok if you are interested in using the app.

Some benefits of TikTok for older users include:

  • Connecting with younger family members who use the app
  • Discovering new hobbies and communities
  • Enjoying lighthearted, creative content
  • Learning new skills in short-form video format
  • Sharing your own knowledge and life experience

Of course, older users should still be aware of the general risks and best practices of social media use. But there is no age ceiling on TikTok usage based solely on being “too old.” You’re never too old to learn a new dance or share a piece of helpful advice in video form!

What Happens if you Report a TikTok Account for Being Under 13?

If you report a TikTok account for belonging to someone under 13 years old, TikTok will take swift action to investigate and remove the account if the report is found to be valid.

Here’s what happens when an underage account is reported:

  1. Investigation: TikTok’s moderation team will review the reported account to determine if there is sufficient evidence to suggest the user is under 13.
  2. Account removal: If TikTok confirms the account belongs to an underage user, they will permanently ban the account, and the user will not be allowed to create a new account until they are 13 or older.
  3. Content deletion: All videos, comments, and other content associated with the removed account will be deleted from the platform.
  4. Notification: TikTok may notify the account owner that their account has been removed due to a violation of the app’s age requirements.
  5. IP address blocking: In some cases, TikTok may block the device’s IP address to prevent the underage user from immediately creating a new account.

It’s important to note that TikTok relies on users to accurately report their age when signing up. While the app has measures in place to detect and remove underage accounts, some may slip through the cracks. Reporting underage accounts helps TikTok maintain a safer environment for all users.

If you suspect someone is using TikTok underage, you can report the account directly through the app by going to the user’s profile, tapping the three dots icon, and selecting “Report.” Choose “Underage” as the reason for your report, and provide any additional information that may help TikTok’s moderation team investigate the account.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if my child under 13 already has a TikTok account?

If you discover that your under-13 child has been using TikTok without your knowledge, the best course of action is to delete the account. Contact TikTok support for assistance with this process. Then, have an open conversation with your child about why they are not allowed to use TikTok, what the potential risks are, and what alternative activities they might enjoy instead.

Is there a way for a child under 13 to use TikTok with parental permission?

No, TikTok does not currently offer any official way for under-13 children to use the app, even with parental consent. Allowing your child to use the app with your permission would still be a violation of the terms of service.

Can I use TikTok without creating an account?

You can view some TikTok content without an account by visiting a user’s public profile page or clicking on TikTok links shared on other platforms. However, you will not be able to interact (like, comment, follow, etc.) or see your algorithmically curated For You feed without an account.

How can I keep my teen safe on TikTok?

The best ways to keep your teen safe on TikTok are to:

  1. Have regular conversations about their experiences on the app and how they are feeling
  2. Set clear ground rules and expectations around their TikTok use
  3. Use the app’s Family Pairing feature to link their account to yours for content and privacy controls
  4. Walk them through the available privacy settings and discuss the importance of each one
  5. Be on the lookout for signs that they may be having negative experiences or mental health impacts related to the app

Is there an age at which someone is too old for TikTok?

No, TikTok does not have an official upper age limit. The app has users of all ages and is seeing significant growth in older age groups. Anyone over the age of 13 is welcome to join and find content that resonates with their interests. However, all users should be mindful of the potential risks and community guidelines to have a safe and positive experience on the platform.