If you have a teenager at home, it’s likely that you’ve heard of an app called TikTok. TikTok is a short-form video app that allows users to share videos of themselves cooking recipes, trying out different hairstyles, teaching steps to popular dances, and more. It’s a big hit with the younger generation but parents have to wonder—how safe is this app for their children?
Luckily, TikTok does have several parental controls in place to help make the app an age-appropriate environment for children. For users under the age of thirteen, TikTok offers a curated, view-only experience with additional safeguards and privacy protections. Account holders under the age of sixteen also can’t use direct messaging and their content isn’t eligible to appear in the For You feed.
Still, you can never be too careful. Here are some methods you can use to ensure your child’s TikTok safety.
It’s possible that while surfing through TikTok’s many videos, your kids will make friends with people that they want to meet in real life. It’s important to be very cautious in these situations since it can be very difficult to know if this “friend” is who they say they are and isn’t trying to scam your child.
AnswerLady makes the process of verifying a user’s identity simple and easy. To conduct a people search, just enter the person’s name, phone number, email address, or address and click “Search”. You will be able to view a report that shows a person’s aliases, arrest records, sex offender records, and more.
Family Pairing is a feature you can set up on TikTok to safeguard your child’s activity on TikTok. This feature allows you to link your TikTok account to your teen’s in order to turn on a variety of content, privacy, and well-being settings.
Using Family Pairing, you can restrict your child’s screen time, get a summary of the amount of time your child spends on TikTok, mute their push notifications, and restrict your child’s exposure to content that may not be suitable for them. You can also choose to make your teen’s account private, restrict or turn off direct messaging, and decide who can comment on your kid’s videos.
Another feature TikTok offers to provide your child with a safe viewing experience is Content Levels. Introduced in 2022, Content Levels are based on thematic levels of maturity and are similar to those used in film, television, and video games.
These levels help to prevent viewers thirteen to seventeen from seeing videos with overtly mature content. When TikTok detects that a video contains mature or complex themes, like a scene that may be too frightening or intense for a younger audience, a maturity score will be allocated to the video that will keep users under eighteen from viewing it.
Talk to Your Children
Even with the safety measures TikTok has put in place, things can still go wrong. If you want your children to have a safe and enjoyable experience on TikTok, make sure you have open, honest discussions about it. Tell them about the potential safety risks they face. Take an interest in their activities on the app and let them know they can come to you with any problems that arise.
You may feel nosy asking about your children’s activities online, but it’s important that you speak to them frequently about it to make sure they’re staying safe. You might be surprised that they are actually glad you’re interested in what’s going on in their online lives.
Give Your Kids Respect
While you should employ parental controls and talk to your kids about their TikTok safety, it’s also crucial that you respect your child’s privacy. Trust them to handle their daily activities without trying to snatch their phone to see what they’ve been up to.
If a child feels that you are being paranoid or overprotective, they are less likely to share any suspicious behavior of their online friends with you. Give your teen autonomy on TikTok and trust them to come to you if something goes wrong.
It can be daunting trying to monitor your teen’s digital life, especially when that’s probably the last thing they want. But if you use AnswerLady to check out the pasts of people they want to meet in person, employ TikTok’s parental controls, talk with your child about TikTok safety, and trust them with their own autonomy on the app, you should be able to ensure your child has an enjoyable and safe time on TikTok.
Using these tips, you should be able to lessen your worries and allow your child to have fun with their friends and watch videos to their heart’s content on their favorite app.