READ THIS BEFORE YOU LET YOUR KIDS ON TIKTOK!

It is a fact that TikTok is one of the most popular apps in this digital era. Only few years ago, the app was considered lame and only for minors. However in 2020, the tables have turned. The app has 800 million users worldwide as of 2020, and according to statistics , 41% of these users are minors & young adults that go as young as 5 to 24 years old, spending at least a minimum of 1 hour daily on the app. Although the minimum age to use TikTok is 18 years old, many minors are still able to find their way into the app & use it.

With the growing number & celebrities hoping onto the app, such as Jason Derulo & Justin Bieber, it seems like if you do not have a TikTok account, you are considered lame or in TikTok slang "Boomer". Although it is one of the most popular and addicting apps, there are some concerns that many parents might have overlooked before letting their children download and use TikTok. If you are a parent, and you have children on TikTok or if you are about to download TikTok for them, 

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING FIRST AND READ ON!

We did a research on the app and what we discovered while using it is rather shocking considering the fact that a lot of minors are on this app daily!

Before we begin, the app has a very interesting feature called the "For You" page. It is somewhat similar to the "Explore" tab on Instagram. It shows you content based on what TikTok thinks is trending & interesting. Sometimes it even shows you content that are fresh(newly made). It has its own algorithm that shows you random kinds of content. The "For You" tab is also the default page that you will see as soon as you login to the app. Users are also most likely to consume content on their "For You" page rather than the "Following" tab because it is where you actually discover interesting content on there.

Alright enough of all that,

Although TikTok has strict community rules & terms of use, if you wander too far, sometimes the algorithm will take you to the weird & dark sides of TikTok, showing you content that are really weird, eerie, disruptive, dangerous and vulgar content. We believe that this is not TikTok's fault but just a flaw in the system that allow for content like these to come to life.

Without wasting anymore of your precious time, here are some reasons/concerns that we think you should consider first before letting your minors binge on content on TikTok!

1. As far as we know, the "For You" page is filled with many kinds of content.

The kind of content that you usually see on this for you page are cool transitions, comedy, dancing, educational, conversation jokes, current trends and so on. However, you will also find quite a number of really disruptive, dangerous and vulgar content. Types of contents that without proper guidance & explanation, has the potential to scare, make worry or make your child believe that the actions shown on some of these videos are normal behaviour. 




To elaborate our point further, we compiled a list of TikTok videos that we found just by browsing on TikTok on a half hours basis. Check it out to see what we mean.


This is what we managed to find in a span of half an hour. Imagine what you would be able to discover being on there for hours.




2. Quite a lot of content on there has topics that revolves around 18sx.

If you are not okay with your minor exposed to sex or love at the age they are in, or if you believe they are not ready, then you should consider taking them off the app. 


Don't get it wrong, we are all about educating minors to prepare them with the best education on sex and prepare them whenever they are ready. 
However, jumping onto an app filled with content that revolves around 18sx subject, without proper knowledge and guidance can harbour a lot of weird thoughts, feelings & behaviours in your minors. God knows what will they do with all that 18sx information harbouring inside of them. The reason we are saying this is because, after conducting our research, we found that, in a span of 30 minutes on the app, we happen to come across a shocking amount of 18sx type content that are deemed inappropriate for minors to consume.

Check it out here;




3. TikTok is very addicting!

When we say minimum 1 hour daily. We hope you didn't overlook the word "minimum" because we swear, the content in there is so interesting, it can keep you glued to it for the whole day! This is a love & hate for us because it works well when you want to distract your little one to give you a break but you will hate it so much when you try to get your child to do something without any distractions!

So if you're only reading this article now and wondering why your child is so glued onto their phones/tablets. TikTok is one one of the apps that is to blame.


4. Dangerous Trends.

Besides all the kinds of videos that was mentioned above, TikTok is also home to many trends. Most of the times the trends that comes out of it are good. However, there are also times where people come up with stupid, dangerous & life threatening trends.

Not sure what we mean? Take a look at this video below.


Thankfully TikTok has been made aware of the above life threatening trend and gotten rid of it. But could you imagine what those parents must've felt to have seen their loved ones being a victim of this dangerous trend before it was taken down? 

The point we are trying to make here is, TikTok is filled with many creative content creators that comes up with trends all the time. The reason why there is so many trends is because, coming up with a trend that blows up would eventually skyrocket your follower count and put you on a pedestal.

So it is no surprise that a lot of trends are coming to life from TikTok. Whether or not they are dangerous depends on whether you & your child is prepared for it, how you educate your child on the dangers & the consequences of some of these TikTok trends.

Boy, can you imagine your child pulling the racist TikTok trend online like this one
I would be so embarrassed. Not only that, imagine the effect it would have on your child and your family. *yikes*

5. Fake Content Appearing Real.



For those of you that do not know, the above video that we are showing you is one of the most popular way to create content on any social media platforms. It is the type that looks real, but often times, all these kinds of videos are staged. 

The reason we are sharing this with you is because, there are a lot of content like this on TikTok. Kids being kids, they are too young to truly understand the nature & truth behind the video. But the real concern here isn't whether it is real or not. It is whether these minors will try to re-copy these acts in real life. If they do, they may get themselves into real trouble like this girl.

To elaborate our point further on content that are Fake but appear real are videos like these. Please have a look.

https://vt.tiktok.com/kqT8LR/

The point we are trying to make here is that, a lot of these content are fake but made to look like it is real. Sometimes without proper guidance & explanation towards a video that is being watched by a minor has the power that can put them in a position to imitate, be scared, worry or even traumatise them in worst cases. 
 

Now How can We Manage this Issue?

TikTok's famous "For You" page is mainly the reason why this app is so popular and addicting. It is okay when it comes to great content. But what happens when you come across very explicit/unsuitable content? One of the few ways to deal with it is to set up screen time or set up restriction mode through family pairing.

 

How Family Pairing works

To enable Family Pairing
1. Go to your Profile page
2. Tap on "..." three dots icon at the top right corner 
3.Tap on Digital Wellbeing 
4.Tap on Family Pairing.


 

Here’s how you can set Family Pairing.

You have to take your kid’s phone, open the TikTok app, and follow the same steps. At the ‘Who is using this TikTok account’, select Teen, and scan the QR code displayed on your phone. That’s it.

Here's what you can do with TikTok's Family Pairing feature.


Screen Time Management

You can remotely control how long your teen can spend on TikTok each day.

Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the latest version of the TikTok app.
  2. Go to profile, then head to settings (it's the "..." button in the corner).
  3. Scroll down to Digital Wellbeing.
  4. Select Screen Time Management.
  5. Press the red button to turn it on.
  6. Set and confirm a passcode.
  7. The time limit is then set to 60 minutes

Restricted Mode

Turning on this mode will tell TikTok to automatically filter out content that are not appropriate for minors. To our experience & knowledge, this feature does not work accurately to filter out content just as yet as we were still able to come across unsuitable content in Restricted Mode. Take a look.


However, it is still safer to put your minor's device in restricted mode rather than on normal as of now. If parents don't want to use Family Pairing, just manage this setting directly on the minor's device. Follow these steps below:

  1. Open the latest version of the TikTok app on your teen's device.
  2. Go to profile, then head to settings (it's the "..." button in the corner).
  3. Scroll down to Digital Wellbeing.
  4. Select Restricted Mode.
  5. Tap "Turn on Restricted Mode.
  6. Set and confirm a passcode.

To turn off Restricted Mode, repeat steps one through four and then tap "Turn off Restricted Mode."


So there you go, these are some measure to help manage some issues with TikTok. Although these methods might sound like your minor's digital well being is safe, the reality of it is not quite as the features seems to not work at 100%.


Final Words
TikTok is a great app if used correctly with proper usage & guidance. Whatever is said here does not only apply to TikTok but other major social media platforms as well. Many people achieved success in their own ways using TikTok. But sadly, there are some drawbacks to it and we don't blame TikTok for it.

After all, nothing is perfect in this world. 

This article was written specifically for parents to be aware as we personally believe that minors shouldn't be allowed on the app due to the potential dangers it carries. With these information presented to you, we can only hope that you use these information for your child's wellbeing whichever and whatever that is to you.


We hope that this article has benefitted you in anyway, if it did, please share it with someone else!


#tiktok #tiktokmalaysia

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