Is TikTok safe for kids? – 6 reasons why it is NOT

Many parents are happy to see their kids using TikTok to practice singing and dancing based on lots of new trending dances on TikTok. However, you have probably also heard about the problems related to TikTok such as TikTok violating privacy and security issues and therefore has been banned from use in India, US military on charges of threatening national security.

One of the most practical ways to protect children on TikTok is for parents themselves to always be fully aware of the dangers of TikTok, in this article, CyberPurify will help you clarify the to the question Is TikTok safe for kids and explain 6 reasons why TikTok is NOT safe for your kids.

Is TikTok safe for kids? – 6 reasons why it is NOT

TikTok is a free app and social media platform that allows users to share short 15- to 60-second videos. During the Covid epidemic season, the number of adults and especially children using TikTok is increasing day by day. Similar to most social media networks, TikTok collects user data and information.

However, unlike other social networks, TikTok is frequently accused of posing serious risks to users’ security and privacy. That’s why private companies and US government agencies ban their employees from installing and using TikTok on work devices.

The risk of your child using inappropriate language without knowing it

Most kids would love to cover some trending TikTok song or dance, but the important thing is, through those lovely smiles, lip-syncing, you know your child is dancing and sing along to lyrics that contain insults, racism, swear words, and all kinds of horrible words that you can’t quite imagine?

Some typical words like b*tch, n***a, f*** you, etc. or a typical example is Skanky Fishy, ​​many parents have encountered cases of girls as young as 11 years old deliberately posting on TikTok claiming that they have a smelly vagina due to sexual diseases.

bad things about tiktok

Your child’s privacy risk

TikTok collects a huge amount of data, however, TikTok data collection goes beyond just collecting information by tracking the types of content your kids like and share on the app.

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In its privacy policy, TikTok states that it collects “information you provide in the context of composing, sending, or receiving messages.” With a focus on using the word “composing” messages, TikTok not only collates data and messages you share through the app but also matches content your kids have created or written but they have not yet posted or shared.

In addition, TikTok also takes advantage of any access permissions your child grants, collecting information about phone model, screen resolution, currently used operating system, phone number, email address, location and even contacts on your child’s device.

tiktok privacy risk

TikTok and the risk of hackers target your kid’s account

Over the past few years, security researchers have found many security holes in the application. As mentioned, because TikTok has access to a lot of personal information, in a way we don’t want, TikTok has become a favorite route for many hackers. One common way hackers take advantage of TikTok is by sending your child a text message that gives your child access to the user’s account.

Another factor is that TikTok uses an insecure HTTP connection to deliver the video instead of the more secure option of HTTPS. This allows cybercriminals to manipulate users’ feeds and deliver inappropriate, misleading, or disturbing content to a younger audience of TikTok users –  your kids.

The extremely high risk of addiction

Like every other social networking platform, TikTok develops complex algorithms to get users’ attention and get them to spend as much time on the app as possible. Some kids watch TikTok non-stop, others record videos of their entire day on TikTok.

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Do they post all day just because they’re bored or because they want likes and attention from their followers? Whatever the reason, posting too often makes your kids waste time that should be spent on other, more rewarding things. One of the most practical and easy ways to keep security and privacy safer is to avoid over-sharing on TikTok in particular and other social networks in general.

Regular use of TikTok, as a viewer or content creator, will increase your child’s digital footprint. In essence, this poses serious TikTok security risks as your kids are vulnerable to scams and stalked by bad guys (especially sexual attackers).

If you look further, using TikTok can prevent your child from working in a field that requires a high level of security, such as high-level government jobs, because a foreign country has access to enter highly individualistic details about your child.

Is TikTok appropriate for kids

Risk of being exposed to inappropriate content

One of the most concerning bad things about TikTok. As mentioned, because TikTok has many popular songs and anyone can create content, your child is very likely to come across profanity and say inappropriate words with their age.

As with any social platform, there are always risks associated with sharing personal information, being bullied online. This is not to mention how many children risk their lives to follow dangerous trends on TikTok without thinking about whether doing this could affect their health and safety, which does it all for the sake of drawing attention and popularity.

Some of the dangerous challenges on TikTok like the Sihouette challenge where the person filming the clip (usually a woman) will stand in the doorway, pose sexy or dance to arbitrary music. The backlit red light makes the girls appear like a mysterious print that is both seductive and cleverly showing off their body lines.

sihoutte challenge - dangerous tik tok trend

Source: @mrsmosquito/TikTok

However, the Silhouette Challenge has posed serious problems when there are people who take advantage of this to edit TikTok videos that expose women’s bodies. Some edited clips are posted online without the consent of the owner.

Risk of being sexually assaulted online

Many children, especially girls, are tracked by strangers, even if their accounts are private. How can your child know more than 500 people at just 14 years old? This is impossible! These weird names will often spam your kid’s friends with catchy headlines like “I think you’re cool so you should join our group,” but how many of your kids get the same? that one message, from multiple kids (as an attacker) (because they all clicked on the same link) and think it’s real?

Dangers of TikTok

And then, as anyone could guess, the link contained pornography or virus software that entered the device. So keep talking to your child about the dangers of TikTok and make sure your child’s account is private, and regularly check with your child to see if he or she should be following that person or should he/she allow strangers he/she don’t know to follow them?

tiktok parental controls

  • Teaching children soft skills when using the Internet: Raising children to behave, understand, and protect themselves is important not only in the real world but also in the virtual world – the Internet and social networks, where both children and you come into contact with and use every day.
  • Teach your child about a digital footprint: what your child sends or posts will live forever on the Internet and your child is at very high risk of online sexual assault and falling prey of sexual predators, online sexual assault, blackmail.
  • Use a content filter:  It’s a good thing to take the initiative to educate your children. However, you should use more free online content filtering tools to hide 15 types of harmful content on the Internet (don’t forget that harmful content is not only pornography but also murder, terrorism, ghosts, etc. things that terrify your child).
  • Wise modern parents are always proactive in bringing the best for their children. To better protect your child from all porn sites, for all internet-connected devices your child use, you should pre-order Wifi Device, becoming the first parents to own the solution which 24/7 protects your kids from harmful websites. Best prices are always available for early birds!
  • Watch for signs of abnormal mental health in your child: staying up too late, staying away from family members, suddenly not wanting to use social media, low self-esteem, quiet, etc. This could very well be a sign that your child has been sexually assaulted online or has become a victim of cyberbullying.
  • Familiarize yourself and experience with social media: Don’t be passive, actively update and learn the platforms that are popular with young people.

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Binh Nguyen
With 14 years of AI experience, I love developing AI products to solve real-life problems. I'm passionate about how CyberPurify’s AI-driven filtering solution can help parents protect their kids from harmful content, while still letting kids experience the positive benefits of the online world.

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