[Survey] How Many Parents Favor a TikTok Ban?

All About Cookies surveyed 1,000 parents to find out how they feel about social media and the internet’s impact on their children, data privacy, and more.
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Whether from the accelerated need for remote learning, the rise of social media, or the increased ease of internet access, being online is an unavoidable part of growing up. With this influx of technology, parents are now forced to tackle a tough proposition: how can they keep their kids safe online while also allowing them access to all the positive benefits of the internet?

In particular, with easy access to social media, every parent has different parameters for how they handle their kids' posting and viewing content. To discover parents’ best practices, All About Cookies surveyed 1,000 parents and asked them to weigh in on how they keep their kids safe online.

Key findings

  • 33% of parents say TikTok should be banned in the U.S. because of privacy concerns.
  • More than 1 in 4 (27%) say that TikTok is harming children.
  • Almost 1 in 4 parents (23%) check their child's internet history at least once a day. 61% check their child's internet history at least weekly.
  • 30% of K-12 parents don’t allow their children on social media at all.
  • 50% of parents think the internet is making kids grow up too fast.

In this article
How parents feel about social media and their children
Parents trust these social media platforms the least
How parents are keeping their kids safe online
More ways to keep kids safe online

How parents feel about social media and their children

With most social media platforms starting in the early to mid-2000s, most parents witnessed the growth and evolution of social media — both good and bad — in real-time. This means they’ve had time to develop opinions about social media as it relates to themselves — but what about as it relates to their children?

A bar chart showing how parents feel about social media. 50% of parents were glad social media wasn't around when they were kids, and 50% also think technology and the internet make kids grow up too fast.

Though social media may have been present during some parents’ formative years, exactly half (50%) of parents said they are glad social media was not around when they were kids. This may be due to concerns about social media's impact on children's growth and development.

30% of K-12 parents do not allow their children on social media at all

Social media is also shaping how parents navigate talking to their kids about mature subjects: 25% said they’ve had to explain adult topics to their child sooner than they would have wanted to because of something their child saw online. 

Echoing those concerns, 50% of parents said that they believe the internet is making kids grow up too fast. One approach that nearly a third of parents with children in grades K-12 have taken to combat these issues is to keep their children off of social media entirely, something that 30% of K-12 parents say they do.

But, parental involvement cuts both ways: 11% of parents also admitted to setting a bad example for their child regarding tech usage.

Parents trust these social media platforms the least

A bar chart showing the most unsafe social media platforms according to parents. TikTok ranks at number one with 52% of parents thinking it's unsafe, while Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram rank second, third, and fourth.

When it comes to data safety, parents were largely pessimistic about the security of their child’s information on social media sites. Among five of the most popular social media platforms, parents felt that TikTok (52%), Snapchat (51%), and Facebook (46%) were the most unsafe.

Conversely, YouTube was the most trusted platform, with only 27% of parents sharing concerns over their children’s data safety on the site.

Parenting in the age of TikTok

With growing fears of data security, ownership in China, and surging app downloads, TikTok may be the most controversial of popular social media platforms. In June 2022, in fact, a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urged Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores entirely due to data concerns.

Parents aren't the only ones worried about TikTok. In November, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr again expressed concern over the social media platform in an interview with Axios and called for a ban on TikTok.

A pie chart shows 33% of parents think TikTok should be banned in the US, while 38% think it shouldn't be banned. 29% have no opinion.

For the most part, parents also viewed TikTok with a heavy degree of skepticism. One-third (33%) of parents feel strongly enough about the dangers of TikTok that they believe the app should be banned entirely in the United States.

A bar chart shows 44% of parents think TikTok should restrict content by age. 27% think TikTok is harming children.

Of course, there are other approaches beyond a full-scale ban on TikTok. 44% of parents said they favor TikTok creating age-specific account tiers or finding similar ways to age-restrict content — something other video-based platforms such as YouTube have already done. Additionally, 34% are in favor of lawmakers creating new privacy and security laws that TikTok must adhere to.

34% of K-12 parents do not allow their children on TikTok

In terms of content and its effect on kids, 30% of parents said TikTok is too adult-themed, likely one major reason why more than 1 in 4 (27%) also felt that TikTok is harming children. 34% of parents with children currently in grades K-12 said they do not allow their children to use TikTok at all.

How parents are keeping their kids safe online

Parents also have important decisions to make with how they portray their kids on social media. While some parents are unfiltered and post pictures and life updates of their kids regularly, many prefer to keep their kids off the internet until they have their own accounts.

A bar chart shows 32% of parents never include identifying info in posts about their child. 27% never tag theid kids in any social media posts.

One-third of parents (32%) said they remove identifying information in social media posts relating to their child.

With travel, 31% of parents are careful only to post pictures and location information once they have returned. Taking privacy one step further, 30% of parents do not ever include location data in posts involving their children. When it comes to posting about their kids, 27% of parents do not tag their children in posts.

Not all parents are wary of the internet, however. 10% of parents admit to starting and running social media profiles for their young children.

A bar chart shows 23% of parents check their child's internet history at least once a day, while 25% check multiple times a week. 18% never check the history.

Finally, parents realize that social media platforms are not the only digital dangers that kids face. The majority of parents admit to regularly keeping tabs on their child’s online activity, with 62% checking their child’s browsing history once a week or more.

With social media specifically, 37% of parents say they have full access to their child’s social media accounts, including complete login access.

More ways to keep kids safe online

While there is no way to guarantee that kids will be safe on social media sites or the internet at large, there are steps that parents can take to improve the safety and security of their children and the internet. Some top tips include:

  • Avoid common social media mistakes. By their very nature, social media platforms include lots of information that can make you a target if you are not careful. Be sure you know how to stay safe on social media to help avoid some of the most common and critical mistakes that people make, including preventing some of the most frequent social media scams.
  • Limit how much personal information you post. Personally identifiable information (PII) allows someone to figure out your identity, and certain pieces of PII are particularly sensitive and vulnerable. Having a baseline knowledge of what personally identifiable information is and how to protect it can go a long way toward keeping your accounts and identity safe online.
  • Adjust your privacy settings for a safer online experience. It is possible to control (to a certain degree) the type and amount of your data collected and stored online. Knowing how to change your privacy settings for a safer online experience on different websites and operating platforms is a great way to take a more significant role in protecting your family’s data.


All About Cookies surveyed 1,000 U.S. parents in August 2022. All respondents to this survey have at least one child and were asked to consider their oldest school-aged child when answering questions (if they had multiple). Results were stratified across age and gender to create a nationally representative sample.

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Author Details
Josh Koebert is an experienced content marketer that loves exploring how tech overlaps with topics such as sports, food, pop culture, and more. His work has been featured on sites such as CNN, ESPN, Business Insider, and Lifehacker.