TikTok is a social media app developed in China that helps the user to design and create creative and passionate content in short music videos and share it.
The short music videos created in this app are 15-second clips and enables users to add special features like slow motion and fast forward. It has live streaming as well as interaction with the audience through a chat function.
In this platform, you can connect with friends, comment and follow other users. This app is focused not only on dance, vocal lip-syncing, music or gymnastics but includes comedy and prank videos as well as challenge videos based on specific causes and themes such as, ‘Fake Travel Challenge’, ‘Raindrop Challenge’ to name a few.
TikTok creates its own celebrities on its platform with kids and teens like Jacob Sartorius becoming an overnight sensation. Users on Tiktok can post videos publically that can be remixed, commented on or shared by users who are on the app but not necessarily friends.
At this day and age of the internet where there are so many predators out there, it can be a real challenge for parent(s) to know if this app is truly safe for their children to use unmonitored or monitored.
With any social networking site, the privacy settings need to be used to monitor how much information your children are sharing. Most videos are harmless in this app but there have been reports of online predators targeting the younger users.
There are some certain guidelines that parent(s) can use to supervise the usage of this app so that their kids are safe.
- While making a TikTok account, the profiles are public by default as in, anyone and everyone can view what your child uploads, and all the information is accessible.
What you need to do to make your account private is to go to your profile page and select privacy and safety icon and switch on the ‘Private Account’ toggle. You can also decide who can send you comments, do duets and DM you.
- The age requirement for TikTok is 13 years at least to use the app and should have the approval of their parent(s) or guardian. To make sure online predators are not contacting your child you can make an account on TikTok and let your tween use it under strict supervision since entering a false birth date is easy.
There are music videos that contain swearing, inappropriate dance moves and revealing outfits that are not appropriate for children and hence monitoring is necessary.
- For safety purposes, the account should be set on private, the location should be turned off, an adult should supervise the usage of the app when your tween is on it.
Your child’s account should follow accounts that you approve of as appropriate for them. It should be made clear that your child knows that you will be monitoring their account usage for their own safety.
Cyberbullying is a serious issue. Parent(s) should monitor the comment section of their children to see if they are being bullied or if their child is the bully.
Parent(s) can report and ban inappropriate users from the app and live to stream. Tweens are advised not to live stream since they interact with other users in real-time which may be dangerous.
There is a new feature on the app where you can manage and limit the amount of time your child can use the app. This “Screen Time Management” feature allows your child to use the app for a maximum of 2 hours.
You can lock the timing with your secret pin code. When the 2-hour mark is completed, your child has to come to you to set the secret pin code for the app’s to continue usage for another 2 hours.
If the video your child uploads do not seem appropriate to you, you can delete the video from the account by selecting the video you want to delete from your profile. Tap the “…” icon on the bottom right corner and select the delete icon that looks like a trash can. The app will ask you if you are sure to delete the video and finally it will be removed.
These are some of the few guidelines you can use as a parent(s) to safeguard your young kid or tween from being a victim to online predators.