The video app TikTok is the great unknown among social media. At least for parents, as the current study "Children, Parents and Social Media 2019" by KB&B, the Hamburg-based specialist agency for children and family marketing, revealed. Children up to the age of 14 and their parents were asked about their social media use.
TikTok - the great unknown
The debate about TikTok on the issues of data and child protection is currently widespread, but this seems to meet with little response from parents. Only around 35 percent of the parents surveyed in the study are even aware of the app - the lowest figure compared to other social media: Facebook scores best with 94 percent, YouTube (89 percent) and Instagram (84 percent) are also almost universally known. Snapchat ranks well ahead of TikTok with an awareness of around 65 percent.
The lack of knowledge about TikTok also goes hand in hand with a shifted assessment of the possible risks. Parents' concerns revolve around the issue of money in particular: 28 percent of the parents surveyed are worried that their children might make unwanted in-app purchases. Inappropriate posts, especially by people who are not appropriate for the child's age, are mostly not a cause for concern - not even ten percent of the parents surveyed view this critically.
But the children are aware of this possible danger. Unlike their parents, they use the app and know the mechanisms and possible pitfalls. A good third of the 10 to 14 year olds feel unsafe: with regard to posts from strangers, inappropriate comments or messages and with regard to the fact that posts can be forwarded without the consent of the owners.
"The fact that the children actively use TikTok means that they can assess the risks much better than their parents," says Rolf Kosakowski, founder and CEO of KB&B.
Friends and influencers - but not parents
YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok - these are the winners among the social media apps for 10 to 14-year-olds. Not only are they the most frequently used apps in comparison, but in the case of Snapchat and TikTok, children clearly outnumber their parents and use these apps more often than their parents. The children thus remain among themselves. Facebook is no longer relevant for children between the ages of ten and 14: only just under 16 percent say they use the social network.
The children use social media apps actively and exactly for what their actual purpose is: For 65 percent, interaction with friends dominates. In addition, the content of influencers (around 27 percent), celebrities (around 21 percent) and brands (a good 13 percent) are equally relevant for 10 to 14-year-olds. The decisive factor for whether children are interested in something or someone is the potential for identification: about half of the children surveyed said that they have contact with people who think and feel like them. And about one in four is also willing to reveal something about themselves in return for information from social media. This is good news for influencer marketing, which can continue to score points with the young target group with good content.
About the study:
The study was conducted with FACT, 425 children up to 14 years and 796 parents were interviewed in August 2019. FACT is a market research tool from KB&B, the specialist agency for children and family marketing, with which companies can conduct representative surveys of the target groups children, young people and families.
KB&B was founded in 1999 by Rolf Kosakowski and is one of the leading agencies for children's and family marketing in German-speaking countries. Its clients include DB Fernverkehr, Sony Music, Lufthansa, the Carlsen publishing house and SOS Kinderdorf e.V.