Are you a parent? What do you know about TikTok? Do you know that there are over 800 million active users on TikTok, and many of them are children and teenagers? Yes, youngsters are highly attracted to TikTok because it offers so much creative content. However, this increasing popularity of TikTok among children is causing worry among parents.
Is TikTok safe for kids? In this article, we will answer this question and also tell you the risks and dangers kids are exposed to on TikTok. We’ll also share some of the measures you can take as a parent to protect your kids from such risks while they use TikTok.
Is TikTok Safe for Kids?
Young people find TikTok quite appealing because it gives them a space to explore and express their creativity. Through the platform, they can make and share videos on various topics like sports, fitness, recipes, etc. However, TikTok is not totally safe for children. There should be adult supervision, and kids’ accounts should be private for various reasons like:
- Strangers often try to connect with kids on TikTok, which may threaten their safety.
- Even with the contents filtered, children can still get exposed to inappropriate content from other users. The content may include offensive language and actions.
- The commercial element of TikTok often offers reward points to kids to encourage them to invite their friends to install the app. The kids can then redeem the points for coupons from various brands.
What’s the Right Age to Use TikTok?
When you check the terms and conditions of TikTok, you’ll see that the app is recommended for only 13-year-olds and above. Still, you’ll find children accessing the restricted version of the app. These are the various rules that TikTok has set for different age groups.
- For Children Below 13 Years – They are restricted to the younger children section of the app with extra privacy. TikTok has also set strict age restrictions and safety measures in this section to ensure children only to watch age-appropriate content. The children are also prevented from posting, commenting, or searching for any video.
- For 13-to-15-year-old Children – TikTok sets their accounts to private by default, and their videos can only get engagements from their friends. TikTok has also turned off the feature that recommends their account to others and stopped notifications from being sent to them past 9 pm.
- For 16-year-olds and Above – They can access the live entertainment stream section. They can also send and receive direct messages, but notifications are turned off by 10 pm for 16-to-17-year-olds. Moreover, they can’t purchase, receive, or send virtual gifts unless they’re over 18.
What Are the Risks of TikTok for Kids?
Children can get exposed to various risks when using the TikTok social media platform. Some of these risks are:
- Meeting Strangers – Users of social platforms often connect with strangers to build new connections, and that’s not bad. However, there are also predators with bad intentions that use the platforms like TikTok to connect with children.
- Data Collection – The Federal Trade Commission of the US has previously fined TikTok $5 million for illegal collection of personal data of kids below 13 years. This is why children must stop sharing and storing their data on TikTok to ensure their personal and digital safety.
- Dangerous Challenges – Every social platform sometimes has different challenges for users to try. However, TikTok had several dangerous challenges a while ago, like the Blackout and Skull Breaker Challenge. Trying out these challenges was quite risky. Children should be discouraged from attempting such challenges and not be influenced by their peers.
What Parents Should Know About TikTok for Kids?
Does your child use TikTok? If they do, then there are facts about TikTok that you need to know to help you keep them safe on the platform. These facts are:
- If your kid has a Facebook, Google, or email account, they can use it to open a TikTok account, which poses a high risk of sharing their personal information.
- Even after activating the privacy and internet safety settings, your child may still encounter inappropriate content on their profile, which can negatively affect them.
- Children’s mental health can be affected by the various conversations on sensitive topics like violence, racism, and politics that happen on TikTok.
- Your child may be pressured to create better content by friends and strangers.
- Online bullying or cyberbullying is very common on TikTok, and your child can face it as users criticize their content. This can affect their self-confidence.
- There’s body-shaming on TikTok, which can cause your child to develop body image issues or lower their self-esteem.
What Safety Measures Should Be Taken When Using TikTok?
Your child can use TikTok to express their creativity and to watch fun and educational videos. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. To ensure their safety, though, it’s necessary for you to set parental controls to monitor their activity on the app. Here are a few safety measures you can try:
- Put Screen Time Limits – TikTok has a Screen Time Management feature that you can use to limit the time your child spends on TikTok. Once the watch time limit, like 40 minutes, is reached, the app will request a passcode.
- Activate the Restricted Mode – With the restricted mode enabled, no mature content will appear on your child’s screen. This feature is not entirely foolproof, but it will report any inappropriate content that appears.
- Set Family Pairing – The Family Pairing setting can help enhance privacy as you can link your TikTok account with your child’s and manage their privacy settings.
- Follow Your Child’s Activity – You can ask your child to share their TikTok account to help you monitor the content they are viewing. If your child is uncomfortable with this idea, have an open conversation about the music, videos, and creators they like on TikTok. When you understand what content they enjoy, they are more likely to share their TikTok account with you.
- Keep Your Child’s Account Private – To ensure the safety of your child and prevent strangers and predators from connecting with them, advise your child to set their account to private. Their profile photo, username, and bio will still be visible even if their account is private, so ensure that you advise them not to share any sensitive information on their profile.
- Manage the Video Settings – If your child has set their account to public, they can still adjust the settings of videos and limit who can watch them. Therefore, you can advise your child to take this measure to control their viewers and manage their video-sharing options.
- Report and Block Users – Encourage your child to report any issue with a particular content immediately or setting the app offers. If there’s a user whose content they don’t want to see, they can also block them.
Extra Tool to Help Safeguard Your Child When Using TikTok
With a reliable parental control tool like KidsGuard Pro, it’s easy to monitor all your kid’s internet usage, including their activity on TikTok. Once you start using it, you’ll not have to worry much about your kid’s safety on any social platform. Whether you’re using an Android or iOS device, the app will work effectively when you download it. Immediately you set it up, you’ll start checking everything your kid does on the internet remotely. And they will never know about it.
Key Features of KidsGuard Pro
- Provides real-time monitoring and alerts. You can set a timer to receive a link to your kid’s home screen so that you can monitor their phone easily.
- Offers an intrusion detection system (IDS) that a parent can install on a computer to set safety measures, protect their children from adult social media, and restrict their access to specific websites.
- Supports the Google Safe Search Engine – The KidsGuard API is set to integrate with the Google Safe Search Engine to prevent your child from accidentally accessing hate, drugs, or pornography topics.
- Compatible with all mobile devices (Android and iOS) and has no ads or in-app advertisements. All the information your kid will access is through the device only, and the app will block all inappropriate TikTok users.
How to Use KidsGuard to Safeguard Kids on TikTok
- Start by downloading the KidsGuard Pro app to your device and then register an account using a valid email address.
- Go to the “Bind Now” button on the app and copy the link. From there, send the link to your kid’s mobile device. You can also scan the QR code using your child’s device.
- Click the link sent to your child’s device or scan the code. Next, download the KidsGuard Pro app on your kid’s device.
- Once the KidsGuard Pro is installed, you can start using it on your phone to protect your kid on TikTok and block any inappropriate, unsafe, and harmful content.
We can’t deny that children and teenagers nowadays have embraced TikTok and other new forms of communication. However, the large number of TikTok users puts them at risk of exploitation by strangers and predators. This is why parental supervision as they use the app is necessary. We’ve highlighted various safety measures you can adapt to ensure your child is protected from any risks and dangers online. The best step you can take is to use the KidsGuard Pro app. This tool makes it easy for you to monitor all your kids’ online activity and offers several features to ensure your kids’ safety on TikTok.
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