Robert Jimison and family; Sophia and Sabrina Kianni; and Ken Scwartz and Ian Schoenfield are all using TikTok for some family bonding time during coronavirus isolation.
CNN  — 

Families all over the world have been stuck inside together for weeks. Have they completely torn each other apart by now? Are the bonds of familial love ripping at the seams and giving way to household anarchy?

On TikTok, the global video sharing platform, the answer is (thankfully) no.

In fact, the app’s feed is filled with moms and dads, sisters and brothers, aunties and cousins and even family dogs all joining together to make silly, creative, often downright wholesome quarantine content.

The result is proof that families who stay together can create together, even when it seems like everything else in life is far more difficult than it should be.

A family dance party

Until recently, TikTok was mainly thought of as a young person’s game. The app shot to global popularity thanks to millions of teens and young people who flocked to its endless, addictive feed of short user-made videos. With a few taps, users can participate in dance challenges or other creative trends that spread across the app and have made regular teenagers into household names.

On top of it all, music from ultra-cool artists like Doja Cat, Bazzi, Mighty Bay and Dua Lipa sets the background for routines and memes that are often inscrutable to anyone who remembers life before iPhones.

But, like all forms of youthful social media, crabbed age always creeps in. Guileless moms, dads and grandparents have become TikTok stars — often unwittingly. And even if a video doesn’t go viral, it’s still a fun way to spend an evening.

Ken Schwartz, Ian and Ben Schoenfield dancing to Doja Cat's "Say So"

Ken Schwartz is in isolation with his wife and her 17-year-old twin sons in Arlington, Virginia. Like many families, they’ve planned movie nights, binge-watched “The Crown” and cleaned out the garden shed — twice. Schwartz’s stepson Ian even wrote a movie short for the family called “Quarantine!”

“We were so bad at acting, we tried to do a dance video instead,” Schwartz says.

Cue the TikTok attempt — and a multi-generational dance routine to Doja Cat’s “Say So.”

Schwartz and his wife are still working while in isolation, so things can get busy. “We definitely have our time apart,” he says. “But yes, we are also finding ways to be creative and be together.”

It’s the place to be right now

tiktok doctor nurse rose leslie miki rai 2
Why this doctor and nurse are now TikTok famous
01:28 - Source: CNN

People cope with social isolation in different ways. Some create. Some binge watch. Some seek out any platform where they can connect with their crew. And some, well, just want to zone out.

TikTok has a little bit of it all.

Users spend about as much time on the app per day as it takes to watch an episode of your favorite drama – 45 minutes in 2019, according to Fast Company. And with a new thing to discover every few seconds, it can hold the same feel-good, addicting quality as the uber-popular Nintendo Switch game, Animal Crossing.

The interface is more seamless than YouTube, where ads and funky algorithms make it hard to get in a multi-video groove. And the videos tend to have a more homegrown, authentic feel to them; closer to the now-defunct video app Vine than the aesthetics-heavy world of Instagram.

It’s no wonder that TikTok has been home to some major cultural moments recently. Millions of people have watched TikToks created by healthcare professionals disseminating critical Covid information, debunking myths and revealing the realities – and the humanity – of their daily battles. When Gloria Gaynor is on your TikTok feed showing you how to properly wash your hands while singing “I Will Survive,” you know you’re living in a very unusual times.

It offers other ways to create

While the app is mostly famous for its musical aspects, it’s also a trove of tutorials, workout videos, comedy sketches, thirst traps, inside jokes, journal-style storytelling and all manner of scroll-thru entertainment.

TikTok creators Sabrina and Sophia Kianni