If you have children, tweens, or teens with access to social media and apps for their electronics I'm sure you've heard of Tik Tok. Tik Tok is an app that allows the user to make short mobile videos and post them online for the world to see. If your child is the creative type and loves music and dance, then this app is probably at the top of their request list.
According to their website, "Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy."
Simple enough, but how safe is that joy?
In the Apple store, Tik Tok is rated for 12+ and on Google Play it's labeled "Teen Maturity," but there aren't any strong safeguards within the app that restricts age. It's easy for kids to go in, put in a false age, and have access to all types of videos posted with various content. Earlier this year the company did upgrade their requirements to make the app more child friendly, but it's an easy work around to gain access to mature content.
You do have the option of creating a private account. When you sign up, your profile is automatically public, so you have to go into the settings and put in your privacy updates. Under the privacy settings, they allow you to set it in Restricted Mode. Here you can set a pass code, put in Screen Time Management, put restrictions on comments, choose Friends, and even turn the comments off. You can also report and block users.
With any social media app, you have to decide if you and your child are ready for this level of access. Even apps with the fiercest of restrictions can't totally protect your children, so conversations must take place. Talk about internet safety: no talking to strangers, no sharing private information, no uploading sensitive photos and videos, etc. If you don't know where to start, here is a good book to sit down and read with your children. You can find plenty of age-appropriate options online.
Allowing your child to use this app is a personal choice. You know your child's maturity level, and you know what you want your child to have access to and be exposed to. You know how much energy and effort you want to put in when it comes to monitoring their online activities.
It can be a little scary, but this is the technology age. Things are so different from when we were growing up. We didn't have to worry about the dangers of the internet. Times have definitely changed.
If you are thinking about allowing your child to use this, I do suggest you play around with Tik Tok first. That way you can make an informed decision. I know it can be hard sometimes to say no, especially when all their friends are doing the same thing. Just do your research and trust your instincts.