After hearing my young adult children discuss a video or two found on TikTok, I downloaded the app and started exploring this worldwide phenomenon.
I soon travelled down a rabbit hole of lip-synching videos, quick recipes and house cleaning hacks. As I was blissfully escaping the realities of the Year 8 curriculum (which I was struggling to assist my son with), I needed to know why there was so much adult angst over children accessing this site – and there in the question lies the answer.
As an adult, I am able to process and scroll quickly past any content that does not appeal to me. But TikTok comes with risks and may expose young people to inappropriate content that can be harmful. TikTok can be used for:
- In-app purchasing
- Live streaming
- Messaging/online chats
- Online relationships
- Photo/video sharing
Parents should consider these safety tips:
- Know how to block and report accounts and be aware of bullying.
- Set up the app with your email address if they are under 13, so you can see who is following them and messages.
- Set their profile to private. Make sure they are only connected to people that they know and are following legitimate sites.
- Encourage them to speak up.
- No videos in school uniform, don’t give away any personal information and turn location tracking off.
The app’s community guidelines all seem adequate and include information for parents on how to pair an account with their child’s so they can set controls. However, this does not replace the need to provide some level of oversight.
Ann Barr is a Senior Student Protection Officer at Cairns Catholic Education
Read more of our tips on cyber safety.