How to keep children safe on TikTok

If you haven't heard of TikTok, TikTok is the new video sharing app dominating 2020. Keeping it simple, TikTok is a social media platform where users can watch, comment and upload short videos. You can add music and effects to the video and once uploaded, other users can watch, like and follow your account.

The main feed consists of an ongoing video reel from users all over the world. It goes without saying that not all content is child friendly. It's also worth noting that the app requires users to be 13+ to create an account, but currently do not seem to be policing it.

TikTok can be a fun place to be for a teenager, and some aspire to be 'tiktok famous', but if you have decided to allow your child to use the app, how can you keep them safe?

Below is an extract from the guardian online giving you all you need to know about the app. All situations below are risks. Please exercise caution when using any social media platform.

Is TikTok safe for kids? What are the risks?

TikTok makes all user profiles ‘public’ by default on signing up. So, anyone can view videos that your kids upload, send direct messages to them, and access their location information. Here is the list of the potential risks associated with this app.

Strangers can target your child

Many of its users, including kids, use TikTok as a platform to showcase their talents.

Users can use its ‘Duets’ feature to send messages to young children. This feature allows you to remix with another user’s video and lip-sync or dance alongside them in a new clip.

Like any other social media platform, there is a possibility of your child chatting with anyone, including strangers.

Your kid might encounter inappropriate content

The app has two main feed sections. The default one – ‘For You’ – is an algorithmically generated stream of videos. Another one – ‘Following’ – is a more personally curated feed from the people you choose to follow.

Even if you set your account to be private, your child may still be exposed to sexual or violent content posted to the public feed.

There is a wide range of concerning content on the platform – from overtly sexual videos to physically dangerous stunts that children might want to imitate. Some videos are acutely racist and discriminatory, having the potential of misleading the youth.

How to put restrictions on TikTok?

1) Manage your kid’s privacy settings

Make your child’s account to be private. Customize who can Duet with your kid, who can post comments and reactions, who can message them, and who can view videos they liked. You can select from ‘Everyone,’ ‘Friends,’ and ‘Off.’

Use a passcode-enabled screen time management system and a restricted mode to limit inappropriate content.

2) Increase your knowledge about the app

Kids definitely know more about the technology and the apps than the parents. But you, as a parent, need to enhance your knowledge to be on par with digitally-driven generation.

Understand the apps they are using, download it, and try to understand its features.

3) Talk to them about the app and digital etiquette

Have an honest conversation with your child about what is happening in the electronic world.

Instruct them not to share personal information with strangers, keep strong passwords, and be polite in your conversations.  Explain these things with reasons. Let them know how some innocent posts, according to them, can prove to be otherwise in the future.

4) Use parental control apps

Do you ever wonder, ‘How to block TikTok?’ The answer is – Bit Guardian Parental control. It allows you to block inappropriate apps on your child’s phones. You can also apply a screen time limit on their devices.

Using any social network can be risky, but you can guide your children so they will be able to use it to their advantage. Also, as a modern parent, take the benefits of the technology and Download parental control app to ensure your kid’s safety in the digital world.

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