A Parent’s Guide to TikTok: How to Use TikTok Like Your Teen

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While most of us know “Tik Tok as the 2009 pop hit by Kesha, it is now recognized as one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world. The social media app currently has nearly 700 million users around the world and has been estimated to receive between 850 million and 957 million downloads in 2020. Who are these millions of users? Well, they are none other than our teens, their friends, celebrities, small businesses, and now some of the biggest corporations. 

What is TikTok?

Before TikTok became what it is today, it was originally known as an application called Musical.ly. The app promoted short videos featuring creators lip-syncing to their favourite songs. When Musical.ly was acquired by the media and tech company Bytes Dance in 2017, the company merged Musical.ly with their popular application TikTok. If you previously had a Musical.ly account or profile, it automatically became a TikTok account. The new application allows users to watch, create, share, like, and comment on short videos by creators.

How Does TikTok Work? 

It’s actually not as difficult or complex as you might think! Anyone can learn to navigate and create videos on TikTok. Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok gives anyone a chance to go viral, build a following, and grow an audience regardless of age, reputation, or the number of followers you have. There are tons of parents who have mastered the art of TikTok from this mom making lunch for her kids to the Holderness family, who creates hilarious skits and parodies on parenting. If you’re interested in starting your own journey on TikTok, there are a few key elements you need to incorporate when creating videos on TikTok.


Trending sounds, music, and original audios are the foundation of TikTok. As you scroll through TikTok, you’ll notice different songs or audios attached to every video. When you click the audio, you can see the original creator of the sound and all the videos that have used that sound. You can also create your own video with that sound or add it to your library. Check out this TikTok video our founder Kyree and her mom Kennishia created using a popular sound!


TikTok challenges usually start when a particular song, an effect, or dance goes viral. A TikTok user will create a challenge using an effect or dance which will be recreated by tons of other users. A dance challenge that you might recognize is one of the popular TikTok dances to the Weeknd’s Blinding Lights. A recent challenge you might have heard of is the Intuition challenge, where two people or more try to clap at the same time. 


Duets are a feature on TikTok that allows you to build on another user’s video by adding your own video. You can also duet your own published videos with the feature. When you select the duet option, your video will be displayed beside the original video. Some parents have duetted their teen’s TikToks which have resulted in some sentimental or funny videos.

Effects and Filters

TikTok effects and filters are fun animations, features, or tools that you can add to your videos. One of the most popular effects used on the platform is the green screen effect which allows you to use a photo or another video as the background for your video.

How to Find TikTok Trends

If you want to show your teen that she isn’t the only TikTok expert in the house, you’ll have to keep up with the latest trends. While it sounds simple, TikTok trends come and go quickly! But there are three areas of TikTok that you can check to make sure you're always updated on what is trending: The For You page, the Discover tab and the Following page.

For You Page

The For You Page is curated based on the videos you interact with, accounts or hashtags you follow, the type of content you create, your location, and your language. The more videos you watch and interact with the more you’ll see that type of content. For example, if you watch and engage with lots of cat videos, your For You page will show you a lot of cat videos. But keep in mind your teen’s For You Page may look a little different than yours!

Discover Tab

TikTok's Discover page is where you'll find everything that is trending on TikTok. Everything from trending sounds and hashtags including the top videos under these trending sounds and hashtags. Many of the hashtags belong to different niches and communities such as skincare, small business owners, or parents. If you're an Instagram user, you'll notice the similarities with Instagram's Explore page.

Following Page

When you start to follow creators and brands you love on TikTok, the Following tab will feature a personalized feed of videos created only by those you follow. When you follow popular creators, scrolling through the Following page can also be a quick way to discover what is trending.

Tik Tok Trends to Try 

Now that you’ve learned the basics, here are some simple TikTok trends to help you join in on the fun!

Who Got You Smiling Like That

This particular trend begins with the audio asking the subject of the video: who's got you smiling like that? The subject responds by revealing something that makes them smile, whether it's a person, a cute animal, or a specific situation. Do one showing a picture or video with your daughter to surprise her even more!

Photo Crop Challenge

Are you up for the challenge? The photo crop challenge is an effect on the TikTok app that crops various areas of the screen. The challenge is to get yourself in the frame before the crop moves to another area on the screen. The results are hilarious and will leave you with some Instagram-worthy shots! Alternatively, people have reversed the challenge by attempting to avoid the crop.

Grinning Filter

The grinning filter is a strange effect that makes it appear as if you’re smiling when you’re not. Users have been showing themselves using the filter near a mirror to reveal that they aren’t grinning or smiling.

Blue and Red Filter

The Blue and Red filter is an effect on TikTok that gives you feminine features when the filter is red and facial hair when it's blue. Many people have used it to sing duets for the song Blackout from the Broadway show In the Heights.

To The Salon

The "to the salon" trend is your opportunity to show a transformation. The transformation can be a makeover, a renovation, a DIY project, or even filming the creation of a dessert! In this example, the student uses this trend to share the transformation of her college dorm room. Don’t be afraid to get creative with this one!