Tiktok has become the new sensation of the internet. In a digitally connected world where our young ones are exposed to both the wonders and the dangers of social media from a young age, it’s no wonder that the birth of the video sharing app with over 1.1 billion daily active users has become a concern for parents of tweens and young teens.
As an app that allows your child to use popular sounds and trends to recreate 60-second snapshots of funny skit videos, dances and viral challenges, Tiktok may seem harmless on the surface. However, without sufficient parental controls in place, TikTok’s algorithm allows participants of all ages to see a varied ‘For You Page’ which can often contain adult content. What’s more, users are even able to interact with each other via messages and comments, fuelling concern for many as users continue to connect with strangers.
TikTok’s growing popularity and ability to post most forms of content has made it one of the most diverse, but also questionable platforms for this generation of tweens and teens. As it sweeps through the lunchtime playground, it may be hard to keep your child from participating, but in a few simple steps, you can make the experience safer for your little ones, without taking away the fun that TikTok has to offer.
Read on to find out more about social media’s dangerous path, and how you can prevent your child from experiencing harm when scrolling through their favorite For You Page.
Social Media’s Dangerous Path
The good news is, TikTok requires its users to be at least 13 years of age before exposing them to the app’s full experience. However, recently, the platform has brought out a version aimed at younger participants, allowing children to access the popular social media site from as young as 10 years old.
While the growth of TweenTok has increased dramatically thanks to TikTok’s pre-teen feature, social media’s dangerous path is still a very real concern for digital native parents, especially after the rise in cyberbullying on popular social media platforms and the new mental health pandemic sweeping across our digitally connected generation.
In fact, statistics suggest that tweens and teens who spend more than 3 hours per day on social media are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems. What’s more, the same study by Etactics found that 13% of children aged 12-17 suffered from depression as a result of using social media, and a whopping 32% said that it increased anxiety levels.
How To Make Sure Your Child Is Safe
While we may not be able to remove social media’s influence on their lives, Improving your little one’s safety on platforms such as TikTok has never been easier. Taking a few simple steps towards a safer viewing experience will decrease the chance of cyberbullying, grooming and control the levels of adult content appearing on their For You Page.
Activate Restricted Mode
One of TikTok’s newest features is restricted mode, designed specifically to reduce the amount of adult content on the popular platform, making it a safer space for minors and a sigh of relief for parents.
To activate this, simply head onto the app and find the profile button in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Once in the profile section, find the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen, which will bring up a drop-down menu. Under the General section, find ‘digital well-being’ and simply tap ‘enable restricted mode’ for a safer viewing experience.
Screen Time Management
Setting some manual rules in place is also important when trying to protect your little ones from the dangers of social media. Imposing boundaries on factors such as screen time can improve digital awareness and reduce the amount of time your tween spends on their phone.
The less time they spend on social media, the more detached they become from the popular platform pull that often engulfs young people, making them susceptible to things such as cyberbullying.
Better still, capping screen time also reduces blue light inducing eye strain that can impact focus when it comes to homework and other daily tasks.
One of the first steps towards a safer future on TikTok is to enable the app’s privacy feature. Making your child’s account private is vital if you don’t want them to interact with people they don’t know.
Enabling ‘Account Privacy’ allows your tween to post their favourite videos and join in with the platform’s growing trends, while only sharing their content with a small group of friends, rather than a for you Page watched by billions of users.
This feature ensures that users outside of your little one’s circle of friends will not be able to content or interact with them, removing the threat of both grooming and cyberbullying while your child is online.
Educate For A Safer Future
Most importantly, education is the way towards a safer future online. Sitting your young one down and explaining the dangers of social media platforms such as TikTok is the best way to reduce harm as they enter the world of social media interaction.
Educating them on the impact of cyberbullying and the dangers of grooming online will provide them with an important set of skills as they head fingers first into the world of instant messaging, platform sharing and the home of the ‘digital native’.
While it may seem scary sending them out into a digital world, packed full of virtual users from around the globe, as parents it’s time to accept that social media is just a part of this generation’s culture. However with these safety measures in place, rest assured that your tween/teen is safer as they scroll and well protected as they enter their digitally connected future.
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