It has been a massive 12 months for TikTok as it becomes the global sensation and billions of users gravitating to the platform with many primary school aged children begging parents to join the revolution. So, what should you know about TikTok and how can you kids safe?
Whilst all users can view and create short, shareable, fun and informative content it comes with a warning that you may also see dangerous, sexual and downright inappropriate videos. You can follow, like, comment and instant message with anyone within the platform making this entertainment app a social network!
The world of TikTok is often promoted and seen to only include videos of fun dances and duets, pop music. The unfortunate reality and culture that is growing in this space is careless content is being shared which deviates from fun dances to far more sinister types of videos. A quick visit the open ‘discover’ section truly highlights the complete diverse content that exists for users to view.
Across so many of the shared videos the outfits, provocative poses, promiscuous dance moves, sexual connotations, drug references and crude language is the unfortunate the reality for much of the content within TikTok. This means young users are in-fact being exposed to interesting content. The concern here lies in how freely this type of content can be found. There has also been reported cases of users sharing more concerning content linked to self-harm, cutting, violence and pornography. Given free reign the ‘Discover’ section allows, users essentially have open search bar where users can search for anything their heart desires and be taken to the TikTok’s that fit within that category and or hashtag.
TikTok’s Default settings are set to public, meaning any other user can see content posted to a users profile and make contact/message that user. The first step in creating a safer space for young users to always set accounts private. To do this navigate to the profile page and select the ellipses (…) in the top right-hand corner to then select click on ‘Privacy and Safety’. Here you have several settings that can then be specifically managed to better protect the user’s safety and wellbeing when using TikTok.
- Set visibility to PRIVATE account. Be sure your child only accepts ‘Friends’ (other users) that they know in the real world
- Determine who can post comments (friends, everyone, off). We recommend Friends.
- Who can duet with you (a duet lets you TikTok side by side with other peoples videos). If your account is set to PRIVATE you cannot create duets.
- Who can react to your videos (friends, everyone, off). We recommend Friends.
- Who can send you direct messages. We recommend Friends.
- Who can view your liked videos. We recommend Friends.
- Comments filters (within this setting users can filter key words by typing in words you never want to see in your comments. The use of key work filters here allows you to hide uncommon phrases or words that might not traditionally be seen as offensive)
Restricted Mode: An optional account setting that will limit the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all audiences. This done through artificial intelligence scanning posts for inappropriate or hurtful content. Unfortunately this doesn’t always filter all inappropriate content. The feature is activated via password and is also valid for 30 days so be sure to regularly revisit this setting.
While the settings available to users and information provide specific actions that can be taken to protect young people, please note that doing so will only minimise the risk. What users say and share on TikTok varies and is outside of anyone’s control. As parents be sure to actively explore the content in the Discover section of TikTok so you can see for your self your children will see. You will discover that whilst there is a lot of ‘fun’ shared on the platform you will also discover copious amount of suggestive, hurtful, sexual, harmful videos that you may not be happy for your children to see.