There are currently many social networks that, as a parent, you should keep track of your child engaging in. Hence, your 10-year old’s obsession with the TikTok app is probably one of the things you’re scratching your head about.
While TikTok activity is harmless for the most part, there are serious concerns about underage kids accessing it. Like many other social networks, you have to set up privacy settings to limit your kids’ engagement. Because pictures or videos can be posted impulsively, your 10 year old’s use of this app needs supervision.
Who Can Use TikTok?
Using any social network can be a huge risk in the hands of adults, let alone kids. Nonetheless, it is still possible for kids to use an app like Tiktok with proper adult supervision. With this in mind, Tiktok developed certain rules that apply to different age groups. Here are some of the default settings within the app:
- For users under 13, posting videos or comments are prohibited.
- For kids that fall between ages 13 to 15, by default, accounts are private. This means only friends can comment on videos, and other users can’t.
- Only users aged 16 or above can use the Livestream feature and direct messaging. Also, only users aged 18 and above are permitted to buy, send or accept virtual gifts.
Tiktok has also created tools for parents to limit how much time kids spend on the app. It also applies to what kids can view on the app. Parents can use features like “Restricted Mode” to limit the consumption of mature content. Another feature called “Family safety mode” allows parents to pair their accounts with their kids’ to have total privacy control settings.
One thing you’ll, however, notice is that, among the privacy settings highlighted above, none offers inclusion for below 10-year olds. Caution must be taken if you are going to let your 10-year-old use the app.
If your younger children want to use Tiktok, an app section for kids under 13 allows for this. Of course this isn’t without extra safety and privacy features. Here, kids can only view filtered and clean videos and are barred from commenting, searching, or posting their videos.
This feature peaks the interest of many kids and leaves them unsatisfied with what they’ve got. They now can bypass the section by providing false birth dates. This grants them full access to content only suitable for teens and adults.
Why Should I Block my 10-year-old from TikTok?
Predators can prey on their innocence.
TikTok allows users all over the world to connect. This comes with its hazards. Due to the comment section and share feature, there’s a possibility your child could be talking to a stranger.
Predators can take advantage of this to indulge your kids with flattery and compliments. They may also employ “Duets” to send your underage kid explicit content.
They may encounter inappropriate content.
TikTok is split into two main feed sections. The default is “For you,” which relies on video streams generated from algorithms. If you swipe left, you’ll see a feed curated for you, called “following.” These features are uploaded from the people you choose to follow.
Unfortunately, setting your account to “Private” may still leave you exposed to explicit content posted to the public feed. This may not only be sexual content but may include dangerous stunts your kids may be spurred to recreating. In short, the wide range of content pouring into the platform makes it easy for kids to get corrupted.
There are privacy concerns about the app.
Following an eye-opening investigation in 2020, ugly evidence of its operation was uncovered. The evidence shows how dangerous the app is when feeding users with dangerous content. One of the app’s backbones and perhaps success is data mining.
This enables TikTok to harvest an almost inexhaustible amount of information about its users. The investigation revealed that the techniques deployed by TikTok include facial recognition. With this, they can have a user’s identity and information at their fingertips.
Being in this mix overwhelms a kid as young as 10 years old or less. This is because they are innocent and helpless. This is why parents should be cautious of their children’s use of the app.
How Can I Make My Kids TikTok account Private?
To make a TikTok account private, follow the steps below:
- Go to the profile page of the account
- Select the three-dot icon located at the top-right corner
- Navigate to the Settings and Privacy page
- Tap Privacy
- This directs you to the Discoverability page.
- Toggle the switch to access Private Account
This page also allows you to manage other safety and privacy features. This includes who can send private messages to the account and comments. Using the Settings named “Friends” allows you to alter these features. Turning them off keeps you or your child from strangers.
Does TikTok Have Parental Control
TikTok allows you to manage your kid’s account in several ways. Check them out:
- Screen time management
This setting limits users to only two hours per day on the app. Concerned about the number of hours your kids spend on the app? You can limit it to 40 minutes. If you’re enabling this setting on your kid’s phone, you’ll need a password to access and lock it.
- Restricted mode
This setting blocks explicit content. This does not effectively shield your kids from accidentally stumbling on inappropriate content. It’s recommended you lock these settings with a passcode.
- Family pairing
To set this up, click the three dots close to the user profile on both phones. Click on family pairing and sync your account to your kids using a QR code.
While doing this, you should be aware of overturning this; all your kids have to do is re-download TikTok. After this, they can create a new account with a new phone number. So TikTok isn’t foolproof.
Many people and organizations are worried that TikTok is using their app to spy on people and mine their data. More serious concern should be what the platform can do to underage kids if they join. So, to the honest question – Is TikTok safe for my 10-year-old? An honest answer is no it isn’t.