In a world dominated by social media platforms, TikTok has emerged as a popular app among teens. But as a parent, it’s essential to understand the platform’s workings and the potential risks it poses to your child’s safety. This article will provide you with valuable insights into the TikTok app, the minimum age requirement, its features, and what parents should be concerned about.
What is the Minimum Age for TikTok?
According to TikTok’s terms and conditions, the minimum age to use the app is 13. This age restriction is in place to ensure that children under this age are protected and not exposed to content that may not be suitable for them.
How Does TikTok Work?
Once your child has signed up and logged in, they can explore popular categories, follow content creators, or create their own videos. The app offers various special effects that users can apply to their videos, making them unique and engaging. Additionally, TikTok allows users to cross-post their content on other platforms, such as Instagram, to reach a wider audience.
How to Create an Account
To create an account, your child needs to click on the ‘person’ icon and choose to sign up with an email, phone number, or their existing Google, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. After selecting an option, they will be prompted to enter their date of birth. If they are below the age of 13, the app will display a message stating their ineligibility to use TikTok.
Once your child has set up their account, their feed will highlight what’s happening in their community, and the ‘For you’ feed will show personalized recommendations.
Why Do Teens Love TikTok?
TikTok offers young people a platform to express themselves through short-form video clips. They can create content around their passions and gain a following, building a community that shares their interests. Teens love the app’s creative features and the ability to apply special effects to their videos, making them stand out. They can also share their TikTok content on other platforms, enabling them to reach a broader audience.
What Do Parents Say About the App?
While TikTok can be an exciting social space for teens, parents have raised concerns about certain aspects:
Seeing Inappropriate Content
Parents worry about the presence of inappropriate language in some TikTok videos, potentially making them unsuitable for younger children. It’s essential to monitor your child’s content consumption and have open conversations about what they encounter online.
Contact from Strangers
Another concern is the risk of predators seeking to connect with children on TikTok. It’s crucial to set up privacy and security settings to limit interactions with strangers on the app. By doing so, you can help ensure your child’s safety in their online interactions.
What Should Parents Be Concerned About?
There are several factors that parents need to consider regarding their child’s TikTok usage:
- When downloading the app, users can see all the content without having to create an account. However, they cannot post, like, or share anything until they’ve set up an account.
- By default, all TikTok accounts are public, meaning anyone on the app can see what your child shares. However, only approved followers can send them messages.
- TikTok allows users to like, react to videos, follow other accounts, and send messages. This opens the possibility for strangers to directly contact children on the app.
- Children may feel tempted to take risks to gain more followers or likes. It’s crucial to have conversations with your child about the importance of sharing content responsibly and with whom they should share it.
- If your child wants to delete their TikTok account, they can do so by navigating to ‘Me,’ tapping on the ellipsis (three dots) on the top-right corner, selecting ‘Manage account,’ and then tapping on ‘Delete account.’
Does TikTok Have e-Safety Features?
TikTok has implemented several features aimed at enhancing e-safety:
Similar to Facebook and Instagram, TikTok offers a digital wellbeing section that alerts users who have spent more than two hours on the app. Additionally, users can enable ‘restricted mode’ to filter out inappropriate content.
Users have the option to set their account to private, ensuring that only the creator can view their videos. With a private account, your child can approve or deny users and limit incoming messages to followers only. However, keep in mind that their profile photo, username, and bio will still be visible to all users on the platform. TikTok provides several management options, allowing you to control who can comment, duet, and direct message your child.
To prioritize user privacy and safety, TikTok has set the default privacy setting for users under 18 to private. This means that only approved followers can view their videos. These changes aim to create a safer environment for young people on the app.
It’s reassuring to see TikTok invest in initiatives that promote a safer environment for young users. However, it remains essential for parents to monitor their child’s online activities and have open conversations about internet safety.
Latest TikTok Updates
TikTok continually introduces new features and updates to improve user experience and safety. Here are the latest updates:
TikTok has announced plans to support screen time management by introducing prompts that encourage users to take breaks. Users will also have access to a screen time dashboard to monitor their in-app usage.
As of January 2021:
Several features have been implemented to address privacy, security, and content moderation concerns:
- Privacy and security settings have been updated, with TikTok setting accounts of users under 18 to private by default.
- A fact-check feature has been introduced to combat fake news and misinformation.
- Creators now have control over the comments posted on their content before it goes live.
- The options for commenting on videos created by users aged 13-15 have been tightened.
- Duet and Stitch settings have been adjusted to limit access for content created by users under 16.
- Video downloads for users under 16 have been disabled by default.
- The visibility of accounts ages 13-15 has been restricted for account suggestions.
- Notifications are now blocked for users ages 13-15 past 9 pm, and for users ages 16-17, past 10 pm.
How to Report Inappropriate Content on the TikTok App
If you come across content on TikTok that violates the platform’s Community Guidelines, you can report it within the app. Blocking followers is also possible; simply select the fan you wish to remove and choose ‘Block’ from the menu of options. It’s crucial to keep the TikTok app updated to access the latest features and security enhancements.
Understanding the ins and outs of the TikTok app and its safety features empowers parents to guide their children in using it responsibly. By staying informed and having open conversations, you can ensure a safer online experience for your child.