The VIRAL TikTok app can be a hit with kids, but it can also expose them to extremely inappropriate clips without the right settings.
Surveys in the app revealed deadly pranks, sexualized clips and child gangs preying on young people.
Getting your kids to stop using TikTok can be a difficult task, but will definitely keep them safe.
If you think letting a kid stay on TikTok is the best solution, you’ll need to make some changes to their app.
Experts urge parents to tighten TikTok settings to fend off many threats. We have also launched TikTok time bomb – a series to raise awareness of potential dangers on the application.
We reveal the settings you need to change below, but remember: settings can only go up to a certain point and are not 100% guaranteed to keep your kids safe.
Also, you might not want to follow all of the setup tips below. Making these changes can be overkill for older teens in particular.
How to find TikTok settings
First, launch the TikTok app, which has a white musical note on a black background as its logo.
Then tap Me in the corner, then tap the three white dots for settings.
From there, you can make important changes to protect your children from harm.
1) Private account
Head to Settings> Privacy & Security and find the Discoverability section at the top.
Below you will see a setting called Private Account. Activate this option.
A private account means that only users you have approved can follow you and see your videos and likes.
However, this will not affect existing subscribers.
TikTok time bomb
- TikTok has spread like digital wildfire, attracting over 1.5 billion users since its global launch three years ago, including millions in the UK.
- On the surface, the world’s fastest growing social media platform shows short lip-syncing clips with songs or showing dance moves, but there’s a much more sinister side to it.
- It has become a magnet for pedophiles as well as a hotbed for violent and extremist content, with predatory TikTok exploiting the platform’s young user base and lax security to prey on vulnerable people.
- We’ve seen kids as young as eight seek treatment on TikTok, while other creeps take advantage of young girls posting sexualized content of themselves on the platform.
- And that’s especially concerning on a site that attracts millions more children each year, with 53% of kids now owning a smartphone by the age of seven.
- That’s why we launched our TikTok Time Bomb series – to make sure parents are aware of the risks their children are facing and what they can do to better protect them.
- We also want TikTok to moderate their content better so that kids aren’t left to protect themselves online.
2) don’t allow others to find you
You’ll also want to turn off Allow others to find me.
TikTok recommends your page to many other users to improve video traffic.
Disable the setting and the account will no longer be recommended to other users.
It will also prevent other people from finding the account more generally.
3) Do not allow interactions
In Privacy and security> Security, you can prevent other users from interacting with you.
Most of the settings are on Everyone by default, but can be changed to Friends or Off.
You can prevent interactions on comments, duets, reactions, users who see videos you liked, and posts.
The latter is important, because messages are a private way for TikTok users to chat – and could be abused by sufferers online.
It’s also worth turning on the comment filters to sift through and remove any questionable posts people are posting to your page.
4) Screen time management
You can limit the time a user spends on TikTok each day.
Go to Settings> Digital Wellbeing> Screen Time Management.
This will allow you to set time limits (like “60 minutes”), after which the user will be cut off for the rest of the day.
During configuration, it is possible to choose a password to prevent a child from changing this setting in the future.
5) Restricted mode
This is one of the most important settings for any parent with a child using TikTok.
Restricted mode tries to limit the display of age-inappropriate content for children.
It’s not perfect and works through the use of computer analysis systems – so some questionable content will inevitably be missed.
However, it is definitely better than nothing.
It is also possible to set a password to prevent your child from changing this setting later.
You’ll find it in Settings> Digital Wellbeing> Screen Time Management.
6) Family safety mode
This setting allows you to assign accounts as “Parent” or “Teen”, giving you remote control over a child’s TikTok access.
You can set viewing time limits, exclude inappropriate content, and limit who can send messages.
It’s possible to do this from your own smartphone, so you can make sure your child is as protected as possible anyway.
This setting can be found in Settings> Digital Wellbeing> Safe Mode for Family.
Don’t trust TikTok and the tech giants – take control of your child’s safety
Here’s what Caroyln Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters, told The Sun …
- “Previously, ‘alien danger’ was the thing we prepared our children for when they were alone, but with the advent of social media, alien danger can be much closer to home.
- “For the minority in society who intend to harm children, the places where young people congregate are a magnet, and in today’s world that includes not only the biggest social media platforms, but any game, application or platform that allows children to connect with others online.
- “There is no doubt that these companies need to do more to protect young people, but there are practical things parents can do today to minimize the risks their children face.
- “Use privacy settings at the highest level, teach your kids to communicate only with those they know in real life.
- “Don’t shy away from tough conversations about risk online, and make sure you stay engaged and have open conversations about what they’re doing when they’re online.”
How to block users on TikTok
It is also possible to block users who worry you.
If someone has sent inappropriate messages to your child, you should report it and block the user.
To do this, go to Privacy and Security> Security and add usernames to the block list.
In other news, a recent viral TikTok trend saw teens start fires with phone chargers and coins.
Dead Vine Viral Application was reborn under a new name: Byte.
Teens were panicking recently over rumors that TikTok stops.
And Instagram influencers come with huge sums of money for sex on a daily basis.
Are you worried about TikTok? Let us know in the comments!
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