You may well of heard about TikTok which is a social networking app that replaced the popular Musical.ly app when it went offline in 2017. The app gives users the opportunity to share 60 second short videos with friends, family or the entire world! Like Musical.ly before it, it is most popular with under 16s. It has also now become the most downloaded app of 2019. But how safe is it?!
There are some important safeguarding and online safety concerns that parents need to be aware of in relation to this app. Please read this National Online Safety information poster, specifically designed to support parents.
Internet Matters is a valuable website that can help you keep your child safe online and one of their most recent updates is tips for parents to understand more about what TikTok is and has further updates on how to keep children safe using the app. See the link below for more information.
Please make sure to read the privacy section which states:
Does TikTok have any safety features?
Like Facebook and Instagram, it has a digital wellbeing element (which is password protected) which alerts users who have been on the app for more than 2 hours. You can also turn on ‘restricted mode’ to filter out inappropriate content on the app.
Set your account to private
Also, 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.
As of 6 December the following features will be rolled out with a full rollout across TikTok markets before the end of 2019:
Live streaming: The minimum age limit to host a live stream will still remain 16+, however, TikTok has updated their policy so only users aged 18 and over can purchase and give virtual gifts, and also only those 18 and over can receive gifts from their fans.
Additionally, users wishing to use the live streaming feature will need to have a track record of creating quality content that follow 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.
Family Safety Mode: TikTok’s new Family Safety Mode which will be available later this month, is an in-app feature designed for parents to help keep their kids safe whilst using TikTok. The Family Safety Mode allows the parent to link their TikTok app to up to three kids to manage screen time, turn on restricted mode which prevents kids viewing inappropriate content and lastly, parents can set restrictions on who can engage with children’s comments. For example, you can restrict whether or not comments are allowed on their video.
Parents will not be able to monitor a child’s profile when these features are switched on and both the parent and child must consent to use this feature before use.
Be sure to update the TikTok app to ensure you are kept up to date with the latest features.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)
The CEOP button is a quick and easy way for adults and children to report online abuse. If you are worried about online abuse or the way someone has been communicating online, let CEOP know.