SAN DIEGO — The social media app “TikTok” is on kids’ mobile devices all over the country, springing its predominantly Gen Z users into viral dance trends, comedy sketches and sometimes dangerous challenges.
The Chinese video-sharing social network is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company founded in 2012 which recently exploded with more than 123 million downloads and a billion users, according to the company’s statistics.
The platform has launched a new generation of social media stars, including 19-year-old Travis Zip, who has more than 2 million followers on the app. He visited FOX 5 this week to help parents understand what their kids are up to on the app, and how to make sure they’re staying safe.
Zip says that when he was injured attempting a viral trend he saw on the platform, he saw an opportunity to mentor his fanbase. “Recently I lost my tooth, my friend dropped me on the ground … I took it too far,” Zip said.
The accident ended up requiring extensive dental work, something the TikTok star hopes none of his fans would go through because they were copying something they saw on the app. “You gotta know your limits,” Zip said. “You gotta know when to stop.”
Some users haven’t observed that advice: Two New Jersey minors were charged with third-degree aggravated assault and third-degree endangering an injured victim on March 3 for their role in a “skull-breaker challenge” TikTok video gone wrong.