Is TikTok Appropriate for Kids?
As one of the most popular social media platforms, TikTok raises some questions regarding how safe or appropriate it is for the younger population. The platform has well over 100 million users, so the amount and variety of content are outstanding.
But, here are some things you need to know about how it works, who can join, and what you can expect to see.
Weirdly enough, the app has a 12+ age rating on both Google Play and the App Store. However, this rating is just a guideline. In reality, anyone can download and start using the app, as there aren’t any age verification systems.
Because of this, TikTok may not be the most appropriate app for kids, because there’s no telling what they can see.
User Content Restrictions
TikTok has a strict policy that forbids nudity and NSFW content. But in this day and age, what do we consider NSFW? How tight is this policy exactly?
Not as strict as you think. While it’s true that there’s no nudity on TikTok, users can create and upload plenty of adult-oriented content.
There are some limitations to what TikTokers can show in their videos. But, there is no language filter. So, kids can get exposed to cussing, inflammatory or derogatory language, and other harmful types of behavior.
Kids get ideas from everywhere and everyone around them. Once they see something new, they’ll likely want to try that at home. So if you think about it, even too much funny content may not be appropriate for kids.
There are lots of users pulling pranks on TikTok. It might not take a kid too long before attempting to replicate something dangerous.
Some popular TikTok users may also talk about, or show, body and gender transformation videos. While there may not be anything wrong with that, it’s understandable that not all parents would want their kids exposed to that at an early age.
TikTok Parental Controls
Many social media apps and user-generated content sharing platforms offer some form of parental controls. But, in the case of TikTok, this feature is somewhat underwhelming.
The mode is called Restricted Mode. When enabled, this feature filters out some of the more mature content and keeps it from appearing in the results. That said, the filtering algorithm is not too impressive, and it won’t guarantee a truly PG experience all the time.
There’s also an option called Screen Time Management. It will allow you to set a time limit for your kid between 40 minutes and two hours. But, having less exposure per session is still exposure. You can only limit the amount of time your kid can spend on the app with this feature.
That said, neither option is infallible. Also, note that your kid can easily modify the settings if they have the passcode.
How to Prevent Your Kid from Using TikTok
Short of taking away their smartphone, there’s not much else you can do. Even in countries where TikTok is banned, users still find ways to install the app.
It’s available on multiple third-party websites and can be installed on both Android and iOS devices. Perhaps the best way to keep your kid from spending too much time on TikTok is to explain why the platform can be a bad influence at their age.
Also remember that even though the minimum recommended user age is 12 years, kids at that age are hardly in a position to discern between good and bad behavior. Until it provides better content filtering, TikTok will remain an inappropriate platform for kids.
Not That Kid-Friendly
Finally, TikTok remains an NSFW platform for the most part, despite being advertised as the complete opposite.
Whether this is intentional or not is another story. But let us know in the comments section below whether you think that TikTok is good or bad for kids, and why?