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TikTok – The Social Media Platform Most Parents are Worried About

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Data has revealed popular social media platform TikTok to be the one that parents are most worried about. There are 5,100 online searches each month for ‘Is TikTok safe’ in the U.S, compared to ‘Is Snapchat safe’ with 2,300 search on average and Reddit with 2,000 estimated monthly searches for the phrase ‘is Reddit Safe’.

AI Digital family safety app, Canopy.us, collated Google search volume data relating to the safety of various social media platforms. The family safety app has also explored what dangers threaten kids using TikTok and the safety precautions parents can take to protect them. According to their research, here are the possible dangers that could affect them:

What are the possible dangers of TikTok to children? 

It Can Be Addictive

TikTok learns from the users’ habits, through its algorithm, and continually creates a personalized experience that will only get more and more enjoyable.

A Tech Crunch study revealed kids aged 4 to 15 spend 80 minutes on TikTok daily; that’s nine hours per week, 486 hours per year, and 20 days per year spent scrolling through videos.

Risk of Sexual Exploitation

Reports of predators contacting children on TikTok are of great concern to parents. The NSPCC conducted a survey that found 25% of 40,000 school children had live-streamed with someone they did not know, and one out of 20 kids had been asked to take their clothes off.

This risk is not unique to TikTok, and parents should be vigilant of all social media platforms that offer the potential to interact with strangers through live streaming.

Exposure to Dangerous Challenges

There have been countless TikTok challenges that have spread across the platform, some of these taking the lives of children.

An infamous trend known as the ‘Benadryl challenge’ resulted in the death of a 15-year-old girl who consumed excessive amounts of the allergy medication.

Parents may benefit from keeping up to date with any recent trends to look out for signs of their own children’s attempts.

Misinformation Claiming to Be Medical Advice 

A recent borax trend sweeping over the platform has been influencing users to treat various ailments by consuming laundry-boosting borax.

Of course, most people would use common sense and will forgo consuming a household cleaner.

Still, some younger users may be so influenced by older and ‘authoritative’ sounding TikTok creators that it could lead to serious health problems. Consuming borax may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and kidney failure.

Keeping household products out of reach of children is a good place to start for prevention.

How can Parents Protect their Children from TikTok Dangers?

TikTok launched Family Safety Mode and Screentime Management in early 2020.Through the Family Safety Mode, parents can determine the following:

  • How long each day a kid can spend on TikTok
  • With whom they can communicate in direct messages (which isn’t allowed at all for accounts registered to those under age 16)
  • If your teen has to use Restricted Mode — Restricted Mode prevents “the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all audiences”
  • “Discoverability: whether or not a teen’s account is private (your teen decides who can see their content) or pubic (anyone can search and view content)”
  • Who can view the videos your teen “liked”
  • Who can comment on your teen’s videos
  • If your teen’s account will be recommended to others

To use Family Safety Mode, a parent must link their own account (so you must create one) to their child’s account. A parent and a child then need to open the app simultaneously and select “digital wellbeing” in the settings. At that point, you will determine which device belongs to the parent and which device belongs to the child.

The parent can begin choosing the settings they think are appropriate for the child, and the child cannot alter them.

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