TikTok is a trendy, popular social media app that is controversial amongst parents. On the one hand, explicit language, attention-seeking trends, and cyberbullying on the app give TikTok the potential to be harmful. But kids and teens love it, anxious to join and follow the latest trends, memes, and creators. Like every app, it is important to consider the potential benefits TikTok can offer, not just the dangers. Many TikTok creators take advantage of the app’s popularity to provide inspiration and education to its adolescent audience. If you’ve decided to allow your teens access to TikTok, GKIS has identified some influencers your family may enjoy.
Who’s on TikTok?
Like YouTube and other social media platforms, TikTok users form communities based on popular trends like cooking, makeup, education, and wildlife. While we don’t think of apps like TikTok as a learning resource, many TikTok creators have dedicated their page to making teen-friendly, educational videos that can help your teen learn new things in a fun, accessible way.
Before You Start
As we mentioned in our GKIS Sensible Parents Guide to Tik Tok, it is recommended that kids be over the age of 13 before using TikTok due to its explicit language and content. Also, we strongly advise that you implement our free GKIS Connected Family Agreement before you allow your child a mobile device. With two versions available for kids and teens, our agreement spells out just what you should cover to help keep you family members safer online. All you have to do to get your free agreement delivered directly to your email by entering your name and email address on the GKIS home page. No purchase necessary and, if it’s not for you, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Meet Our Favorite Creators
For this article, we tried to find creators who have a relatively clean act for a teen audience. Please review these creators and decide for yourself whether they are good fits for your family.
In the cooking community, creator @salt_to_taste has amassed over 1 million followers with his cooking videos and recipes. With easy recipes made with everyday ingredients and simple directions, this page is a great place for teens to get inspired to start experimenting in the kitchen. Salt to Taste makes a variety of foods, from snacks to smoothies to simple American and East Asian dishes. This creator has been active for almost a year and has been recently nominated for a Shorty Award in the food category. This creator does not seem to use inappropriate language and does not seem to do sponsorships.
In the makeup community, creator @mariasgoldenmakeup is known for her bold eye looks and makeup tutorials. Though fairly new to TikTok, Maria has already gained over 61,000 followers with videos showing how she achieves her beautiful makeup looks as well as the products she uses to achieve them. Maria’s page can offer inspiration for teens who want to try their hand at makeup and achieve specific looks. Her looks can be used for everyday makeup and special occasions. She has done some sponsored posts but is transparent about what products are being advertised, using the hashtag #ad to indicate a sponsorship.
In the educational community, there are a few creators who have gained popularity for their educational TikToks in various subjects. In nutritional education, creator @sarahgracemeck, with over 149,000 followers, creates educational TikToks correcting various health myths and promoting tips on healthy eating. In our culture, we are obsessed with being thin and restricting what we eat, and this message unfortunately gets pushed on teens the most. Sarah does a great job using her background as a dietician to spread the message of healthy eating in a nonjudgmental, positive way. Sarah is passionate about spreading accurate information and debunking various unhealthy dieting trends and myths. It does not seem that Sarah offers sponsored content.
In science education, creator @chemteacherphil is a popular user with a background as a high school chemistry teacher. Phillip has amassed over 1.3 million followers on TikTok with his videos exhibiting different chemical reactions and explaining their processes. The reactions he creates in his videos are fascinating to watch, and the information he gives can be useful to any high school student taking a chemistry class. Phillip does not seem to use explicit language or audios in his videos or do sponsorships.
In language education, creator @fresajapomex is a popular multilingual creator who publishes videos in Spanish. With over 2.5 million followers, this creator does a variety of content from vlogs to comedy skits to food reviews. This creator, who goes by Sony on TikTok, has an energetic and kind personality and has a great sense of humor. Her parents are Mexican and Japanese, and therefore she speaks both languages as well as English. As a former Spanish student, one of the ways I improved my Spanish skills was consuming media in my target language. Sony’s content can be a great tool to help your teens improve their skills in a different language in a fun way. Sony does not seem to do sponsored content.
In the wildlife community, The Urban Rescue Ranch, the organization behind the page @ostrichplug, recently joined TikTok in an effort to show the work they do raising animals in an urban area. Their content shows their workers handling a variety of animals like frogs, possums, ostriches, pigs, and most recently, chickens. The creators often include their animals in fun, comedic skits and do frequent updates on the development of a few of their younger animals. This is a fun page for teens to view the different responsibilities of owning animals, and may even be inspired to go volunteer for an organization like the Urban Rescue Ranch themselves. This page does not seem to use any explicit language or audios and also does not seem to do sponsorships.
Lastly, a popular creator among GKIS interns is @morgandrinkscoffee. Morgan is a college student who works as a barista for her local coffee shop, and she has gained over 2.2 million followers since joining in 2019. Her content mainly consists of the work she does as a barista, showing how she makes certain drinks, her day to day responsibilities, and some funny skits on her experience in the food industries. For teens who may be experiencing their first jobs in food services, Morgan’s content can show that it’s possible to enjoy the work that you do, but it also lets teens have a laugh at some of the shared struggles most of us have faced while working in customer services. Morgan is transparent in her sponsorships, labeling her sponsored content with the hashtag #ad.
Making TikTok Safer
As discussed in our previous TikTok article, it can be difficult to control the content suggested by the TikTok algorithm. But with careful decisions on who you allow your teen to follow, TikTok will suggest better, safer content that teens will love and parents can trust. Though it’s important to be cautious of the dangers of TikTok, with a little research, finding teen-friendly creators can help make the app safer and more fun for everyone.
Thanks to Alexandra Rosas-Ruiz for her research and help with writing this article. Want to learn more about how to manage the risks of the internet for your teen? Check out Dr. Bennett’s latest book, “Screen Time in the Meantime.” With a quick read (or listen because it is also offered in audio), you can learn creative, sensible, and family-tested parenting strategies to help protect your teen both online and offline.
I’m the mom psychologist who will help you GetKidsInternetSafe.
Onward to More Awesome Parenting,
Tracy S. Bennett, Ph.D.
Mom, Clinical Psychologist, CSUCI Adjunct Faculty