I just downloaded TikTok (reluctantly) on my phone a few months ago. I had to give in for a few reasons. One, because I’m a writer and I have to keep up to date on the latest fads and write about them. (Like how people who are eating fruit roll ups wrapped around a pickle. Yes, really.)
But mostly, I did it because I have three teenagers who are on the damn app all the time and believe everything they see that appears on their screen so long as it comes from TikTok. It takes a lot for me to log in and see what’s going on. My kids call me old and “cringy” because I am a Facebook and Instagram mum. Those two apps are more my speed and I’m not sure why they get so much from watching other people eat enormous quantities of food (also called Mukbaning) or teenagers imitating their parents with wigs as they scream and throw themselves around their bedrooms. Not to mention all the girls lip syncing and dancing in bikinis.
While I now know TikTok has more to offer than what I originally thought (thanks to my daughter who sends me the best animal videos and beauty hacks), I still have to admit something: I don’t love it.
Maybe it’s because keeping up with another app is exhausting. Or maybe I’m just more into looking at pictures and not video after video.
Anyway, regardless of how I feel about it, watching TikTok videos is a reliable way to bond with my kids and I will take it. It’s something they all love, enjoy, and think is funny.
My daughter recently started sending me a video anytime she thinks I will like it. The latest one was about a sweet baby pig. Oh, then there was a really cool one about making homemade hot chocolate bombs too. Basically you make a chocolate filled ball of cocoa powder, put it in your hot cocoa and as the chocolate melts away, it kind of explodes into your cup. We will definitely be making those this winter.
I don’t open them until we can carve out some time to sit and watch them together. Yes, we are staring at my phone, but it really is a time to bond with my teenagers.
If there’s one thing I’ve realised about having kids in this age of social media is that having lots of game and movie nights isn’t really their idea of a great time. Sure, we do that sometimes but they’d rather be in their room doing their own thing.
If they can “suffer” through a movie and making pizza with me on a Friday night, I can certainly enjoy some videos with them. Especially if they are taking the time to send one they think their ‘old’ mother will like.
There have been many times our TikTok watching has led to lots of laughter. But, it’s also made us do things like try pickles wrapped in hot Cheetos and cookies loaded with Fritos, and try some fun things like making nappys and bibs for our ducks.
I won’t lie: there have been times I’ve wanted to do something with them (like make salt scrub, or try a new place to eat) and I’ve told them I saw a video about it on TikTok. It definitely gives me street cred, and they don’t have to know their mother is lying to them.
TikTok is a good way to bond with your teenagers. And I know mums of the world, whether we like the app or not, won’t pass up an opportunity to spend time with our kids so this feels like a small win in the life of a teen mum.