Is your child on TiKTok or perhaps more to the point for many parents, have you even heard of TiKTok? With over half a billion active users worldwide and despite a minimum age requirement of 13 years of age it is likely that the average ten year old in possession of a smartphone will have come across this video sharing website. Recent data shows that over half of all ten year olds own a smartphone – a statistic which in itself is surprising, but only likely to increase in the future.
TiKTok is packed full of 15 second videos, the most popular of which are quickly turned into memes, which go viral across social media. The site allows users to direct message fellow users which raises immediate safety issues in regard to younger users. TiKTok has announced today that it is introducing parental controls which will restrict age inappropriate content. Given that the average age of users is 20 years of age they are finally addressing the concerns of parents who have discovered their preteens spending time on the site. Bearing in mind the minimum age set is 13, this will still allow content through which in the opinion of many parents would not be appropriate for a ten year old. We must as parents and educators have a clear idea of what our 10-13 year olds are doing online and if parents have allowed preteens a smartphone checking for and restricting the TicTok app is a must. A recent OFCOM survey discovered that 13% of children aged 12-15 were using TicTok which was an increase of 8% from the year before.
Our advice is if you know that your child is using TiKTok and you are happy for them to continue using the site then by all means activate those parental controls – but before you do take some time to have a good look at the content that is on there and decide whether there isn’t a site set minimum age of 13 for a reason – after all as parents we don’t always have to say yes to content even with the benefit of parental controls.