Is your child, tween, or teen using TikTok, and you’re worried that it’s another dangerous social media site where they might encounter predators? If you’re concerned about predatory types, including catfish, scammers, abusers, or con artists, you’re not alone. Many parents are surprised to find out that their children, tweens, or teens have been spending a ton of time on the video-sharing app.
This is everything you need to know to protect your family:
What is TikTok?
TikTok (formerly known as Musical.ly) is a social media app for short music videos found on iOS and Android. If you’re wondering if your child is using TikTok, they probably are, as it has over 1 billion active users! It is similar to karaoke, but modernized.
Users create lip-sync videos between 3 and 15 seconds in length, while looped videos on TikTok can be between 3 and 60 seconds. TikTok originated in China in 2016 and was first introduced outside China in 2017. In that short amount of time, it has revolutionized video sharing and expanded to over 150 markets and 75 languages!
Is TikTok Safe for Kids?
Yes and no. Your child will probably use the app whether you want them to or not, but they are as unsafe on TikTok, as they are anywhere else on the web. If they post public content, it can be viewed by adults who may not be who they claim to be.
Buzz Feed News reported that TikTok has a predator problem. Meanwhile, A Current Affair has focused on the nature of child predators on the app with terrifying results!
Adults who are child predators will always end up on sites where children congregate, and parents need to be aware of it. You are supposed to be 13 to use the site, but many younger children still access it.
How to Keep Your Kids Safe on the TikTok App
Check-in with your children and review their accounts. Ask them about “friends” they have made on the app and look at their viewing history. Try to ask open ended questions. Remember, your children will be safer if they trust you with any concerns or worries.
Explain what red flags they should look for (for example, anyone asking for personal information such as name, address, school, bank info., etc.). Teach them never to share personal data or information online.
Make sure that their TikTok account is private. This will allow the followers you both trust to see their content, but prevent the creeps from accessing it.
If you have a concern about a specific online connection, follower, or account your child has been interacting with or following on TikTok, try a smart search. Go to Social Catfish and enter the suspect user’s name, username, reverse photo, or other known details online. Immediately report safety concerns to the police and alert TikTok to any suspicious users.
Once your child’s privacy settings are safe and you have reviewed their friends and followers, you should also ask your child if they have ever been bullied on the app and report any concerning bullies to TikTok and your child’s school or police.
Monitor comments left under your child’s videos and throughout the site. Many users are inundated by creepy comments left by adult users.
While using the internet will always have some risk, being attentive, and having honest communication with your child will help keep your family safer. If you still worry about the safety risks, make Social Catfish searches a regular part of your online regimen. No child should be harassed online. Social Catfish can help you find out the truth about online predators!