'MDNI' Is TikTok's Newest Acronym and Some of Its Users Absolutely Hate It

Jamie Lerner - Author

Jan. 2 2024, Published 5:05 p.m. ET

Kid with eyes covered
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • MDNI stands for "Minors Do Not Interact" on TikTok, serving as a directive for creators who don't want minors to engage with their content, often due to explicit or mature themes.
  • Creators use MDNI to set boundaries and maintain a more mature audience, aiming to protect minors from potentially inappropriate content.
  • While MDNI can act as a stricter NSFW label, its effectiveness is debated, as some minors may still choose to "lurk" without interacting.
Article continues below advertisement

The internet can be a scary place, especially for young people. And now that young people have access to basically everything through platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, the onus is on older generations to keep them safe. But we remember being young — curiosity takes over! Young people are going to watch, read, and listen to things that they shouldn’t, which can make TikTok’s older users uncomfortable.

So, a new acronym has popped up to “protect” the young, although it more aptly protects older users from the guilt of exposing young people to something inappropriate. The acronym MDNI is a directive meaning “Minors Do Not Interact.” But do all minors follow the rules? Of course not.

Article continues below advertisement
Kid looking at TikTok
Source: Getty Images

MDNI stands for “Minors Do Not Interact” on TikTok.

Typically, TikTok creators use MDNI when they don’t want minors to interact with their profiles for whatever reason. Most reasons include sexually explicit imagery that’s NSFW (Not Safe for Work) or violent gaming, typically Call of Duty. Creators want to be able to share these explicit images, stories, and more without the guilt of corrupting the youth of TikTok.

Article continues below advertisement

TikToker @gh0ul141 aka Zenith created a video to define MDNI. “MDNI means Minors Do Not Interact,” they started. “This means if you are under the age of 18, DO NOT like, comment, or follow my page and others who request the same. This is not to be mean, it’s for people’s [comfort] and SAFETY.”

Article continues below advertisement

“We know you lurk,” they continued. “We’re not stupid. Just PLEASE!!!! If you don’t want to be blocked, respect people’s boundaries. I’m 19 (almost 20) and don’t feel comfortable with anyone under 18 on my page.” While there’s not much of a difference between 18 and 19, it is understandable that people want to control their following and encourage minors to stay on safe accounts.

Tagging something MDNI on TikTok has both pros and cons.

MDNI is basically a stricter NSFW. And by giving a directive to minors, it puts the onus on minors to censor themselves instead of the creator to censor their own profiles. However, we all know teenagers, and if there’s anything they love to break, it’s rules. So MDNI might be less effective than creators would hope.

Article continues below advertisement

In fact, marking something MDNI might even be more likely to draw the attention of young people looking for something off-limits. But to stay under the radar, young people could “lurk” without interacting so that the creators don’t know.

On the other hand, encouraging minors not to “interact” with posts and profiles is a good way to make sure that fewer MDNI videos come up on their FYP. If they only lurk but don’t interact, the algorithm won’t register their interest in those videos, so they’ll be harder to find for minors. So if a video says MDNI, maybe it’s a good idea to listen to it!

More from Distractify

Latest TikTok News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.