Why are teenagers so attracted to TikTok

Picture of Nan Coosemans

Raise your hand if you, as a parent, have been involved in filming a TikTok video with your children.

Raise your hand if you see your children almost every day performing dances and taking video-selfies with choreography or simply showing themselves.

I think almost all parents of kids between the ages of 9 and 18 have raised their hand, am I wrong?

What is Tik Tok and why has it completely captured the attention of our adolescent children?

Many parents don’t know, but before Tik Tok there was Musical.ly (kids from 2004 will remember it well).

Musical.ly, launched by Chinese company Byte Dance, allowed users to perform choreographed dances to trending music, and this already strongly attracted the teenage female audience who enjoyed learning and challenging each other online with these choreographies.

From this perspective, the social media also had a nice function: it encouraged people to dance to the beat and to test their dance skills.

Given the success of Musically, the decision was made to focus on this format of social media and to implement it with other functions, transforming it into what is now called TikTok.

There are 800 million Tik Tok users, most of whom were born after 2000.

What are the elements of TikTok that kids like so much?

The videos: the most loved format by kids

The video is easily accessible (compared to a book) and stimulates all senses

Creativity and easy-to-use tools

TikTok allows anyone to create beautiful content, expressing their personality and showing their prowess.

In fact, it makes available tools like those of real video makers, but in a super easy-to-use version. So everyone has access to resources and the difference between one content and another is creativity.


TikTok offers the possibility of fully personalizing one’s content, thanks to the many tools available and the large selection of music to choose from.


It allows you to perform, to show yourself as you want, thanks to the possibility of inserting filters, colored stickers, and music that you like.

The last element of success is certainly represented by the “challenges.” These challenges spread virally and involve doing a certain dance, challenging a parent or brother to something, eating a particular food, showing a skill.

Teenagers demonstrate their value through challenges.

The challenges are not against anyone in particular, often it is a famous person or an influencer who launches the challenge to everyone indiscriminately, and then all the boys and girls make their attempts.

The word of the day is VIRAL; everyone hopes that “copying that content with that trending song” can be noticed by the algorithm and taken to the mythical page of the “FOR YOU”.

The “FOR YOU” page is the “welcome” page that you find when you open the application and in which you end up only if TikTok deems your content valid (but often it happens by pure chance) enough to be proposed in the FOR YOU of who knows how many hundreds of thousands of people.

Being VIRAL means taking one more step towards digital popularity, which is what counts today.

The key element of TikTok’s success: fast content that creates informed but impatient brains and interactions.

A key factor of success, which has always belonged to the digital world, is speed.

Short or very short content with fast scrolling, very fast interactions: I watch your video, scroll up with my thumb and move on.

In 3 minutes I can watch 30/50 different things based on my preferences, for example: dance, friends, influencers I like, dancers, cats and dogs (if these are my interests).

The result is continuous and impactful stimulation on the brain that loves the new and becomes addicted.

The positive side is that kids have a multitude of information that, a few years ago, we could only have by traveling the world for years.

The negative side is that kids are no longer used to focusing and being patient.

In addition to speed, social media keep kids hooked with interactions: how many likes did I get? How many hearts appear in notifications? This person saw my content? I have 10 new friends! Wow the boy I like follows me…

Being followed, shared, copied makes us feel important…

TikTok is more than a social media… it’s the world where all your child’s friends live.

“Mom please, don’t make a TikTok profile, all my friends are there,” so my friend’s daughter intimidated her mom, making her understand that that social media was “her territory”.

In addition to the beautiful, fast and creative formats, TikTok has become a place of exchange, a place of comparison, a place where you see what friends do, what is happening, what is fashionable.

All of this will also be discussed when going out on Saturday night or seeing each other in class.

For this reason, kids can’t afford to be cut off. They have to know everything to prove to their peers that they are worthy of their reputation.

What can we conclude about TikTok, is it good or is it bad?

Dear parent, after 15 years of working as a coach alongside teenagers, I can tell you that the elements that kids like remain the same: challenge, popularity, fun.

The only thing that changes is the ways and places they express and satisfy these needs.

Before it was the yard at home, then the park of the condominium, the school, the sports places, and then when the digital era arrived, these places became the social media.

While before you rang the doorbell or called your friend, now you don’t even talk to each other, you only write fleeting messages, record voice notes and send stickers-gifs-emoticons.

I don’t feel like saying it’s good or bad.

The world goes like this, we can’t stop progress, but we can know it and teach our children the great value of respect for themselves and others and also that of balance.

Everything is fine as long as it doesn’t harm ourselves and others, and it’s fine if taken in balanced doses.

For this reason, one of the duties of a parent is to inform our children about cyberbullying, dangerous challenges, exchanging private content, and also the importance of going outside, playing sports, and not losing touch with the real world.

During our personal development Camps for teenagers, we address all these topics and provide the tools for kids to understand and make the most of technology.

In addition to this, we teach the importance of taking care of their bodies and never hiding behind a screen, but maintaining their identity both online and offline.

Would you like to enroll your children in one of our personal growth camps?

Discover all the camps for children from 18 to 22 years old.

Picture of Nan Coosemans

Nan Coosemans

Fondatrice di Younite®, Family e Youth Coach, Autrice del libro “Quello che i ragazzi non dicono” ed. Sperling & Kupfer e mamma di 3 figli. Lavoro da oltre 20 anni nel mondo dello sviluppo personale. Ho fondato Younite® nel 2010 e Genitori in Azione nel 2016, la prima scuola online per genitori con adolescenti. Ho studiato vari anni in America, Olanda e Inghilterra integrando il lavoro sviluppato con con NLP, TLT, VT® e Family Therapist. Insieme alla squadra di Younite® ho lavorato con migliaia di ragazzi e famiglie in Olanda & Italia. Sono co-fondatrice dell'Accademia YADA, la prima scuola di formazione per diventare Family o Youth Coach in Italia.

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