TikTok safety guide – Get to grips with the safety tools available on the app and ways your teen can make the most of their time on the platform.
TikTok is a social networking app that replaced the popular Musical.ly app when it went offline in 2017. Know as Douyin in China, it gives users the ability to watch and create short clips of up to 60 seconds.
TikTok is a free social media app that lets you create, share, and watch short clips. The app is popular for viral dances and celeb cameos and is a creative and fun platform for all ages to enjoy.
Currently, the app is available in 75 languages with over 1 billion active users (Jan 2021). Like Musical.ly before it, it is most popular with under 16s. It has also now become the most downloaded app of 2019.
Short videos up to 60 seconds of everything from popular songs to users dancing, lip-synching, performing comedy sketches, and more.
TikTok trends and challenges are a popular part of the app that change often. Users can re-create content from dance challenges to memes about current events. While many are harmless and fun, there are others that need to be monitored closely.
These challenges and trends can harm a child’s physical health and mental wellbeing:
Visit TikTok Safety Centre to learn more about it’s educational video series, “You’re in Control” – foster a safe, positive environment where users are in control and can express themselves creatively.Visit Site
13 is the minimum age according to TikTok’s terms and conditions.
Once signed up and logged in, you can either search for popular categories, creators, or find people via your friend’s contact list, or you can create the videos yourself. But many people just use the app to follow content creators.
How to create an account
Click on the ‘person’ icon and you can choose to sign up with an email, phone number, or existing Google, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account.
Once you have selected an option, you are then asked to enter your date of birth, if it is below the age of 13, the app displays the following message: “Sorry, looks like you’re not eligible for TikTok. But thanks for checking us out!”
Your feed highlights what is going on in your community and a separate ‘For you’ feed shows tailored recommendations for you.
It is a way to express themselves and create short-form video clips to gain a following and build a community around their passions. It also features some great special effects that users can apply to their videos to make them more unique. You can also cross-post the content on other platforms (such as Instagram) to share it with more people.
Seeing inappropriate content
Parents have expressed concerns about the inappropriate language of some of the videos posted which may make this less suitable for younger children.
Contact from strangers
Predators seeking to connect with children is another risk that parents have said to their children. A parent review can be found on Common Sense Media.
When you download the app users can see all the content without creating an account although they are not able to post, like, or share anything until they’ve set up an account on the app.
You can set up your account by using your existing Google, Facebook, Instagram account, via email or phone.
By default all accounts are public so anyone on the app can see what your child shares. However, only approved followers can send them messages.
Users can like or react to a video, follow an account or send messages to each other, so there is the risk that strangers will be able to directly contact children on the app.
Children may be tempted to take risks to get more of a following or likes on a video so it’s important to talk about what they share and with who.
Need to delete your account? Go to Me>Tap …, located on the top right corner>Tap Manage account > Delete account. Follow the instructions in the app to delete your account.
TikTok has said: “Today’s announcement is about going one step further to put in place stronger proactive protections to keep younger members of our community safe.
We look forward to the feedback of our community and all of our stakeholders as we constantly improve with new features and resources to help our community manage their TikTok experience.”
Like Facebook and Instagram, it has a digital wellbeing element (which is password protected) that alerts users who have been on the app for more than two hours. You can also turn on ‘restricted mode’ to filter out inappropriate content on the app.
You can set an account to be private so that all videos can only be seen by the creator and no one else on the platform. With a private account, you can approve or deny users and limit incoming messages to followers only.
Please note that even with a private account, your child’s profile photo, username, and bio are still visible to all users on the platform. You can manage who can comment, duet and direct message your child on the app.
TikTok users under 18 will have their accounts set to private-by-default, which means only someone who the user approves as a follower can view their videos. The change is part of a wider package of measures designed to drive higher standards of user privacy and safety. Download the updated privacy settings here.
Internet Matters CEO Carolyn Bunting adds: “The safety of children and young people online needs to be a priority for organisations across the industry.
The disabling of direct messaging on the TikTok platform for under 16s is a significant move in prioritising the safety of their young users and we are pleased to see the protection of their younger users taking precedence in their product changes.
TikTok provides fantastic opportunities to be creative and have fun, especially in these unprecedented times and it is encouraging to see them invest in a number of initiatives that help to create a safer environment for young people.”
Check out our TikTok privacy and safety parental controls to learn more.
As of late 2019, the following features were rolled out globally:
Live streaming: The minimum age limit to host a live stream will still remain 16.
Additionally, users wishing to use the live streaming feature will need to have a track record of creating quality content that follows TikTok’s Community Guidelines. Users who want to live stream will be required to have a certain number of fans before they can use this feature.
As of 16 April 2020, the following features have been implemented:
As of Jan 2021, the following features have been implemented:
You can block followers ‘ by choosing the fan you’d like to remove and selecting ‘Block’ from the menu of options.
Be sure to update the TikTok app to ensure you are kept up to date with the latest features.
Users can leave comments on videos posted so, this may leave your child open to receiving negative messages. Giving them guidance about what to do if they are cyberbullied or see others being cyberbullied will help them to keep themselves safe.
Go to their account profile page and tap on the three dots in the top right corner. Then select “Privacy and Settings”. From the options select “Privacy and Safety” options and toggle “Private Account” on / off.
Help them to think more carefully about what they post and who it may be seen by so that they protect themselves.
Some of the songs featured on the TikTok app may have explicit language and sexual content that may not suitable for your child. It is best to review the app together with your child beforehand.
If you’d like to learn more about the TikTok app and other similar apps, here are some places you can visit: