Please see a Parent Guide to TIKTOK below.
What is TikTok? TikTok is a video sharing social media app that allows its users to create, share and view user created video content. Users are able to record and upload their own videos, with the most popular videos consisting of people lip syncing or dancing to popular songs and then the video is edited to include filters, emojis and stickers.
Does TikTok have an age restriction? In order to create an account on TikTok you must be aged 13 or above, but many users get around this by falsifying their date of birth. Much of the content on TikTok is unsuitable for children and includes adult content such as inappropriate language, dancing and nudity.
How do you use TikTok? Once you have created an account, you are able to scroll though millions of videos that cover almost every topic imaginable. TikTok works in a similar way to YouTube with the exception that the videos auto play as you scroll through them. This means that you have no control with regard to viewing the content no matter how unwanted it may be.
What makes TikTok so dangerous? As well as being able to access millions of uncensored, inappropriate videos, there is also a messaging feature which allows users to send a direct message to another user. With younger children making up a large percentage of users, it can be very worrying to see the explicit and suggestive dance routines that many youngsters are imitating.
Is this app free? The app itself is free to download and install, but there is the option for in-app purchases where a user can buy TikTok coins, prices ranging from 99p to £93. These coins can then be used to buy new emojis to ‘reward’ those who post entertaining content and videos. If you have an iOS device, the in-app purchases can be disabled, but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be an option with android devices yet.
Does TikTok have security features? Yes. TikTok has a facility for Parents to link to their child’s TikTok account and have some control of what the child can do and see, but, if your child explored the settings it is very easy for them to unlink the accounts, which removes any of the settings that the parent has put into place leaving them open to viewing any content across the app, and having contact, via direct message, from any one across the globe.
What do I do now? If your child is insistent on accessing the app, try sitting with them whilst they interact with the app, so that you can see the content that they are viewing, and are able to take appropriate action, safeguarding them from any potential dangers.