In today’s digital age, it’s no surprise that TikTok has become wildly popular among kids, captivating their attention with short and snappy videos. But as a parent, you may find yourself questioning whether it’s safe for your 9-year-old to join the TikTok frenzy.
TikTok and 9-Year-Olds: What You Should Know
Your child may believe that everyone their age is already on TikTok, but that simply isn’t true. TikTok’s recommended age range starts at 13, making nine-year-olds considerably below the intended target audience.
TikTok Age Restriction
TikTok explicitly states that users should be at least 13 years old. This is an important guideline to consider before allowing your child to join.
Does TikTok Verify Age?
Surprisingly, despite the age requirements, TikTok does not have an effective means of verifying user age. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your child does not create an account before reaching the appropriate age.
TikTok for Under 13
Given the lack of age verification, it’s entirely possible for your child to falsely claim to be older and create a TikTok account. This puts them at risk, as they may be exposed to inappropriate content or be vulnerable to manipulative individuals with ill intentions.
Moreover, TikTok challenges pose a particular concern for parents, as children may not comprehend the potential risks associated with participating in them, potentially compromising their safety.
TikTok for Younger Users: Is It Safe?
While TikTok does offer a version specifically curated for users under 13, it ultimately relies on self-reported age information. If your child honestly provides their real age and allows TikTok to curate their content, it can be a safer experience. However, risks still remain.
Family Pairing TikTok
To give parents more control, TikTok offers a feature called Family Pairing. It allows you to limit your child’s time on the app, restrict the content they see, and control messaging functions. Utilizing Family Pairing can help you strike a balance between allowing your child access to TikTok while maintaining a level of protection.
TikTok User Data
Concerns about user data privacy persist with TikTok. Although the platform collects personal information and online habits, its transparency regarding how this data is used is questionable. This uncertainty has led many parents to exercise caution and reconsider whether TikTok is the right platform for their child.
Dangers of TikTok
Like any social media platform, TikTok comes with inherent risks. It is essential to be aware of these risks as a parent.
Strangers can potentially contact children on TikTok, posing as younger individuals or engaging with their videos. While Family Pairing and other safety measures mitigate this risk, it’s crucial to have ongoing conversations about internet safety with your children and let them know they can confide in you if anyone approaches them online.
TikTok’s challenges and the prevalence of unrealistic beauty standards can exert significant pressure on children. Even if your child follows the rules, the pressure to conform to the TikTok environment can cause emotional distress.
Despite taking precautions, it’s almost inevitable that your child will come across content on TikTok that is not age-appropriate.
While TikTok offers a platform for connection, it can also contribute to anxiety. Online bullying and not receiving as many likes as desired can lead to emotional distress in children.
Younger children, still developing their impulse control, may become easily addicted to social media apps like TikTok. The instant gratification and dopamine release from likes and engagement make it a challenging experience to resist.
How to Monitor Your Child on TikTok
Family Pairing is an effective tool for monitoring your child’s activities on TikTok. Additionally, following your child’s account allows you to see what they are posting, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to track everything they view. For children using social media platforms, especially those below the recommended age, it’s essential to have complete access to their accounts, ensuring you monitor comments, messages, and other content.
Social Media Apps for 9-Year-Olds: Safer Alternatives
Considering the potential risks associated with TikTok, you may be interested in exploring safer options for your child. Here are two alternatives that are considered safer for young children:
Pop Jam offers a secure online social connecting experience for children. It includes moderators, limited hours of use, and a parent portal, making it an excellent choice for introducing your child to social media.
With an educational angle, Edmodo provides a safe platform for children to learn and engage online. It is a favorite among parents and educators alike and can be used collaboratively to enhance your child’s online educational experience.
Deciding when to allow your child to join social media platforms is a personal decision that requires careful consideration. It’s crucial to be aware of the risks associated with letting your child access the digital world. Open and honest conversations about potential dangers and setting boundaries are essential in ensuring a safe online experience for your child.