KidsKnow: TikTok

During our YTS calls, kids are quick to delve into the latest challenges they’ve seen or TikTokers they’ve discovered. What is it about TikTok that they love so much?

Gen Alpha are digital natives; immersed in social media. Speaking to kids during our Youth Trend Spotting calls, social media usage has almost become an inextricable part of their lives. After its meteoric growth this past year, it’s not hard to guess which platform kids tell us about the most. We surveyed over 5000 kids, and 72% said they use TikTok more than Instagram. But, what is it about TikTok that they love so much?

“I started scrolling through [TikTok] and saw it had been two hours that I’d been scrolling through – you just get lost in it!”
Girl, 14

During our YTS calls, kids are quick to delve into the latest challenges they’ve seen or TikTokers they’ve discovered. Here’s what kids have taught us TikTok so far:

Music Discovery

Since its surge in popularity, TikTok’s viral videos are benefiting artists and delivering Spotify streams and YouTube views as kids leave the app to look up and listen to their favourite songs. Songs such as ‘Runaway’ by Aurora are seeing chart success years after initial release, thanks to trending TikTok videos. 

“If I like it on TikTok, I will go and search for it on Spotify and add it to a playlist.”
Girl, 11

As songs gain popularity, kids search for viral TikTok songs from their favourite trending videos. Spotify even now has playlists that specifically list the latest viral TikTok songs. You can read more about Kids and Music Discovery here. 

There’s Something for Everyone

Out of all the content TikTok has to offer, one genre reigns supreme; even if you’re not on the app, you will have heard about the viral dances. We asked kids what they like to watch on TikTok, and unsurprisingly, 30% of said dance videos were their favourite.

“I tried to do TikTok dances with Mum and Dad.”
Girl, 14

However, TikTok has transformed from being solely a lip-syncing and dance routine app to a place where users showcase all sorts of passions. Stuck inside, TikTok introduced millions of kids to new ways to pass the time amid the pandemic. From knitting to crafting, makeup to cooking, baking to gaming, there is space for every talent on TikTok.

“I did a trick on Dad with a TikTok video. I did a sewing video; I made the dress and then clicked my fingers and was in the dress.”
Girl, 9

Ten years ago, kids didn’t have such a place to collaborate and share ideas. However, today, kids head to the platform to express themselves and share everything from gaming tips and makeup hacks. 

“I like to see underrated people on TikTok. Some people who are good at Fortnite trying to get better, I support and follow them”
Boy, 12

Trends Over Influencers

Kids don’t tend to follow influencers on TikTok. Instead, they follow content trends be it by browsing through hashtags and sounds or stick to the For You page, where they scroll through recommended content. 

“I like the For You page, just watching random stuff.”
Boy, 9 

While they head to TikTok for the latest trending challenges, kids prefer to use Instagram to follow their favourite TikTokers or celebs. 

“I follow some wrestling TikTokers, but I mainly like the trends.”
Boy, 11

Inspiration Over Creation

On TikTok, kids tell us they tend to share other users’ content rather than create their own, preferring to upload content on YouTube. 

“I’m pretty sure everyone has it but I don’t think anyone posts on it.”
Boy, 14

Instead, TikTok is a place of inspiration, encouraging kids to try new things and pursue new hobbies.

“I like TikTok because you can interact with people and see different things you could try”
Girl, 10

Users not only navigate to the app for entertainment but also life hacks, news and education. For instance, TikTok’s ‘TikTok for Good’ initiative has enabled environmentally conscious creators and strong voices on sustainability to cement their presence on the platform. 

“I enjoy learning off TikTok, but I don’t necessarily like reading a website with a load of facts on it. It’s a quick one minute video then I can just scroll.”
Girl, 13

That being so, TikTok may be treading on the heels of YouTube as the most popular video-sharing platform for kids to watch content. 

TikTok is Coming After You(Tube)

Many kids during our YTS calls explain how TikTok has taken over from YouTube. While YouTube was once the go-to place for challenges and pranks, with viral Cinnamon Challenge and Try Not To Laugh videos, kids now head to TikTok for a dose of comedy.

“I just go on it and I watch some funny TikTokers”
Girl, 9

TikTok has won the attention of kids and youth and is threatening YouTube’s popularity. Last month, TikTok announced that it was rolling out the option for its users to create videos of up to three minutes in length – up from what was previously 60 seconds. But, with many kids telling us they dream of becoming a YouTuber, YouTube may not be losing its crown just yet.

“I don’t have TikTok, but my friend does and I see it on hers.”
Girl, 9

Ultimately, viral videos and trending songs filter into their lives whether kids have a TikTok account or not. Kids share short videos on Snapchat or Whatsapp, practice dance routines in the school playground, or go shopping for the latest toy fad. Time will tell whether TikTok maintains its popularity among kids and whether they continue to effuse over the platform in our future calls.

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