Jul 04, 2021
Is TikTok Safe for Kids? How to Let Your Kids Use TikTok Safely?
Over the past few years, we have seen so much social media created. Social media is a platform that allows users to share their content, interact with different users, and many more. Nowadays, the most trending app in social media is "TikTok."
Currently, the TikTok app is one of the most used and downloaded social media; it has been downloaded 2 billion times. Its popularity has skyrocketed among all ages of people, and kids are also not behind it.
Nowadays, there is probably no social media where there are no kids. So, you must know whether social media applications your kids are using are safe for the children or not. TikTok is famous among all ages to show their hidden talent and also for entertainment. It has been providing a platform for many content creators.
However, despite its unlimited entertainment and positive aspect, the app is also not free from some dark sides like threats of cyberbullying, cyber predators, and digital addiction. It may also include threats like oversharing personal information, violating privacy, or exposing inappropriate and dangerous content to young users.
So here is the guide for you to know what TikTok is, and is TikTok safe for kids and how we can keep our children safe from TikTok inappropriate content.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media application that was originally known as musical.ly in the US used for video-making and sharing applications. It allows users to create and share their short-form videos, which primarily include lip-syncing to popular songs. They can also create short-form videos of dancing, singing, or just talking.
You can browse through videos and interact with them. You can make duet videos with other people. These videos can receive likes, comments, can also be shared and saved. These videos can be captioned and be grouped according to hashtags, challenges, or corresponding memes.
TikTok is a social media platform that is retained by a Chinese holding called Bytedance. The application was initially released in September of 2016 and is available in 40 different languages. The application is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems.
Is TikTok Safe for Kids? Top Reasons TikTok Not Safe for Kids
However, I wouldn't say that TikTok is not safe for kids, but if not appropriately used and not monitor what your kids are up to with TikTok, then it's definitely not safe for kids. This app may pose many risks and dangers to your children.
Let's have a look at the risks or reasons for TikTok not being safe for kids:
Exposure to Explicit Content
Tiktok shows you two feeds: the Following Feed, which shows videos only from the followers you follow, and the For You Feed, which shows videos from the unfollowed people based on the type of videos you watch. So, the For You feed is risky; it could show you the videos containing explicit and inappropriate content. Such videos may contain vulgar words, sexually explicit, offensive, or physically hazardous content.
TikTok mainly contains popular music from mainstream media. These so-called "popular music" often contain lyrics that may not be appropriate for children. For example, they may contain swearing, sexual language, substance abuse, or other inappropriate language in their lyrics.
Chance of Getting Bullied
On TikTok, it's very easy to get bullied as users comment on your videos about your body, shape, and size. Many people make reaction videos or roast your videos with harmful comments, and even troll you.
Your kids may feel humiliated and shamed when they experience these kinds of reactions, which may lead to mental disorders. So, teach your kids what to do if they are being bullied on social media, not only on TikTok.
Online Predators Target
Predators tend to target teens because teenagers are undergoing a transformation stage during which they are incredibly vulnerable to predation. They are more likely to communicate with strangers and make new friends, which is also possible in TikTok.
Messaging, commenting, and sharing videos content with friends is easy on TikTok. Most of these new friends are online predators who are looking for prey they can sexually abuse. And your kids are unaware of these online predators, so teach your kids to identify them. You can also help them about dealing with online predators.
Personal Data Loss or Misuse
TikTok app allows you to be suggested to other users within the app, allows anyone to comment on your videos, and allows other users to download your videos. Anyone can download your videos which means leaking your personal videos.
People can use your kids' videos for harmful purposes. They can use it for trolling, roasting which effect your teen's self-esteem along with mental health. Phone numbers, mail addresses, and the location you filled up in your TikTok profile may get misused, getting spam phone calls and spam emails.
No Age Verification Required
It's easy to make a TikTok account; however, when signing up, children between the ages of 13 to 15 are provided with a private account by default. Having a private account means, only friends can comment on their videos and message them.
Children under 13 can only access the application but cannot post comments, search or post their videos. They are only served clean and videos that are curated for children. There is a separate section of the application just for children under the age of 13.
However, this system can easily be bypassed by children. It does not ask for any age verification, which is a significant issue in TikTok. It can simply be bypassed by signing in the application by entering a false birth date. So through the false date of birth, your kids can easily access the application and search or post comments on any videos.
Thus, due to these above reasons, Tiktok is not safe for kids. However, TikTok does not allow posting videos with pornographic or suggestive content, some types of inappropriate content might filter through. It also doesn't let its users search for inappropriate content regarding pornography or sexual content.
But having said that, you must have to monitor your child's TikTok account for their internet safety. You have to wait for the right age to get your kids a cell phone, and if you give it early, make sure you have aware them about digital wellbeing and have proper parental control over it.
What Age Group Can Use TikTok and What Can They Do?
Teenagers aged 16 can live stream and use messaging what cannot buy, send, or receive virtual gifts. Users can only use this feature over the age of 18 years. Teenagers above the age of 15 can only have a duet with their videos by default.
Common Sense Media recommends the use of TikTok applications by children of the age of 15 and above. However, the application can be downloaded and be used by children of any age. Tiktok itself requires the children to be at least 13 years old. Although kids who are younger than 13 years can also access the application.
Children under 13 can only access the application but cannot comment, search or post their videos. They are only served clean and videos that are curated for children. There is a separate section of the application just for children under the age of 13.
However, this system can easily be bypassed by children. It can simply be bypassed by signing in the application by entering a false birth date. Moreover, this section for 13 and under is only available in the US.
For children under 13 years in other countries, the application is simply inaccessible. Tiktok also recommends users under the age of 18 have the approval of their parents or guardians when using the application.
Does TikTok Have Parental Controls?
Yes, TikTok does have parental controls. Parental Controls is a software or feature that is included in digital devices. These features are mostly found on all devices that allow parents to restrict content access to the children or limit the uses of specific applications. Parental controls also have filters and blocking options.
With new TikTok updates, it has built-in parental controls on its application that allows parents to set up parental control on TikTok to secure their children. It helps in filtering or blocking inappropriate content and will also maintain the digital well-being of your kids. These features are turned on by default when children below the age of 15 are using the application.
With these safety settings, you can manage your child's account and protect them from online predators.
How to Let Your Kids Use TikTok Safely?
It is your responsibility as a parent to protect your child from the dangers of the internet. Even though, among social media applications, TikTok has the best parental control features and terms of service conditions. But as mentioned above, they feature popular songs which may contain inappropriate lyrics.
So what can we do to control the contact of this inappropriate content on TikTok?
Here are some ways in-app and other third-party software that might help you in blocking inappropriate content and let your kids use tiktok safely:
1) TikTok Parental Controls
The TikTok application enables parents to set parental controls on the application. They help in setting time limitations on their application. They also help in filtering mature or inappropriate content.
As said earlier, the application has parental control settings, so, use its safety settings and disable direct messaging from your kids’ accounts below the age of 13 years. Parents are allowed to provide permission for limiting app time and filtering their content.
There are in-app features to control the flow of inappropriate content to your children. There are many such features as Screen Time Management, Restricted Mode, Family Pairing, and Privacy Settings.
You can know about these features and how to use parental control settings in detail with the help of our blog How to Set Up Parental Control on Tik-Tok.
2) Best Parental Control Applications for TikTok
Parental Control Applications can provide an extra layer of protection for your kids. They will help you not only monitor their TikTok but also other social media applications. They can help block inappropriate content from other parts of their mobile phone, like their web browser.
Here are two of the best parental control applications that can help you protect your children from inappropriate content:
I)Fenced.ai- Your Internet Safety Solution
In addition to setting Parental Controls on TikTok, another best way to keep your child safe and secure from inappropriate content on the TikTok app is fenced.ai. You will be able to add another layer of security to your child’s internet habits. It is the best protection for your kids in the form of parental control and monitoring tools.
fenced.ai is a parental control application that helps parents monitor the calls, social media applications, messaging applications, and many more of their children. It is one of the best monitoring tools for parents to monitor their kids and their device activity anytime. It is a non-intrusive and powerful way to remotely monitor and create a secure environment for your kid.
Features of Fenced.ai:
● Monitor almost all social media applications, including Tik Tok
● Monitor web browser history
● Get alerts on suspicious activities
● Monitor saved videos from TikTok
● Monitor and limit screen time
● Free and premium deals available
● Free demo available
● Compatible with Android and iOS.
II) Bark.us- Leads the Pack of Parental Controls
Another parental control application that has been deemed the best is bark.us. They also provide all the basic features of parental control applications.
This application will help you feel secure about your child by adding another layer of security. You will be able to prevent cases of cyberbullying and befriending a stranger.
Features of Bark.us:
● Monitor social media applications
● Monitor screen time
● Alerts when anything concerning happens
● Free 7 day trials
● Adjustable sensitivity settings
● Compatible with Android and iOS.
Parents are always concerned about the danger of different social media platforms. It’s on you to decide either you let your kids use TikTok or not after knowing all the risks your kid may face with TikTok. However, you can use the in-app Parental Controls to block inappropriate content on TikTok and monitor your child's phone.
New TikTok updates have provided many TikTok Parental Control functions such as Screen Time Management, Restricted Mode, Family Pairing, and Privacy Settings to keep TikTok safe for kids. Along with this, you can use paid third-party apps or free apps to monitor your kids’ smartphones. To protect your kids from TikTok, go through these parent guides and hope it helps you
Why Do Teens Like TikTok?
TikTok is a new popular application among teens. TikTok has refreshing new and original content. Teens usually like something trendy and fun. And TikTok is both. It provides a platform for teens to be creative and stay in touch with their friends. It is silly and goofy too.
What Is The Appropriate Age To Use TikTok?
The appropriate age to use TikTok is 18 and above. Any children using this application under age should be monitored by their parents. TikTok is mostly safe, but they are mostly filled with trendy songs which may contain swearing. You can let children above 13 use this application with parental controls.
Should My Child’s Account Be Private On TikTok?
When accounts are public, and your child makes a video, they can be viewed by anyone on the platform. Anyone can like, comment, and share their videos. Anyone can message your child. This is not generally safe. Having a public account is not recommended unless you are a public figure or creator.
Does TikTok Have a Minimum Age?
The minimum age for TikTok is 13, but the recommended age is 15. Children below the age of 13 can also access the application but the function of the application will be limited.
Does TikTok Have Inappropriate Content?
TikTok does not allow anything sexually explicit or illegal on their platforms. But some of these contents might filter through. TikTok mostly has popular or trending music which might contain swearing or inappropriate language for kids. Issues of social media like: Cyberbullying, sextortion, and pornography do exist on TikTok as well.