What is TikTok?
TikTok is an app which allows users to post videos of themselves lip syncing and dancing to their favourite songs. It can be downloaded to both iOS and Android phones, and is widely used by young teenagers and adults around the world.
Parents are being warned that the popular TikTok App is being used by predators to target children and teenagers. The Information Commissioner are doing an investigation following multiple complaints. Elizabeth Denham, the culture select committee commissioner stated “we are looking at the transparency tools for children, the messaging system, the kinds of videos collected and shared by children online”
TikTok has been fined £4.3 million for collecting data on children in the US; including their names, their locations and email addresses.
A Buzzfeed article outlines the predatory behaviours on TikTok, and discusses how the public and TikTok deal with it:
According to Buzzfeed, young girls on TikTok dance and sing along to their favourite songs, however, these videos are often sexualized by adult users on the site. Users have the ability to remix a video and “duet” with a video posted by another user. Men often “duet” with younger girls, creating videos of a sexual nature.
TikTok works off an algorithm that drives content to users based on their previously watched videos. The app has a “for you” page, which is suggested content tailored to your watch history. This makes it extremely easy for predators to get quick access to the content they want.
Lack of Adequate Monitoring
Users have complained about the lack of Monitoring against predatory and inappropriate behaviours, and have turned to ‘DIY’ ways of patrolling the App. One TikTok user, aged 14, received messages of a sexual nature from a popular male TikTok star. When this girl reported the user, she never heard back from TikTok and his account was never blocked or deleted. Unfortunately, users complain about scenarios similar to this being ignored by TikTok’s moderation team.
From our research, it is evident that TikTok is not safe for children. There are serious privacy and safety concerns for children using TikTok. The most effective way to protect your children from the dangers of this app is to either heavily restrict it, or block it completely.
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