Parents are overwhelmed with the amount of social media networks available and rightly so. A daily struggle for many of us is having to not only keep an eye on our children’s social media activities, but to also keep updated with the new security measures platforms put in place to help keep children safer online.
TikTok is no exception – Parents must have strict safety measures in place as the app can be a very dangerous space for a child to be active on. We at Phambano Technology Development Centre NPC, knowing this, have created this blog post to help Parents keep updated with the trends of the app and to also keep their children safer online.
What is TikTok?
Originally called musical.ly, TikTok it is a social network for sharing videos that a user creates, mostly of themselves dancing, talking or singing – lip-synched to popular songs. Users are also able to browse and interact with other users’ content they have created which covers a wide range of songs and dance styles. These videos are found using hashtags, which often correspond to challenges, memes, or current events. Another popular TikTok feature is called Duet, which allow you to build on another user’s video by recording your own video alongside the original as it plays.
TikTok has different rules for different ages:
- Users under 13 cannot post videos or comment, and content is created for a younger audience reach.
- For children 13 to 15, accounts are private by default and only friends can comment on videos. Other users are not able to duet with your videos.
- Only users 16 and over can livestream and use direct messaging.
- Only users over 18 can buy, send, or receive virtual gifts.
Keeping your child safe while using TikTok
TikTok offers a few ways for parents to manage their child’s account. This could be by limiting the amount of time they use the app, enabling the content filter by means of passcodes or by using the Family Pairing feature to manage their TikTok settings using your phone.
Here are easy steps to make sure you have all of these safety features covered:
Limiting and filtering content: Go to their account and tap the three dots at the top right of the user profile. Then select “Digital Wellbeing” next to the icon of an umbrella. From there, select the features you want to enable:
- Screen Time Management – this setting limits users to a maximum of two hours on the app per day, but you can limit it to 40 minutes. If you’re only enabling this on your child’s phone, choose a passcode to lock the setting.
- Restricted Mode – this blocks mature content, but even with the filter on, children using the app on their own might come across age-inappropriate videos. Lock the setting with a passcode.
- Family Pairing – to enable Family Pairing, you will need to have your child’s phone to sync the settings. On both phones, tap the three dots next to the user profile; tap Family Pairing and sync your account to your kid’s via the QR code.
Keep in mind, that children can always re-download TikTok and create a new account using a different phone number or email address, so any controls you enable aren’t foolproof.
Monitor your child’s activity on TikTok. Other than Restricted Mode, there’s no way to filter out content on TikTok, so parents are encouraged to share an account with children. This will allow you keep an eye on what your child is viewing and posting. Parents of older children who are more resistant to monitoring can ask about their favourite video creators and get to know their videos (with or without your child). Also, take the time to keep yourself updated on the latest trends and security settings that you can learn about.
Most importantly, keep the line of communication around Online Safety and the dangers of Cyberbullying open with your child.