According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), more than 70 million images and videos affecting children’s mental health were discovered in 2020. This number increased by 50% compared to 2019. 

Parents can see how widespread those toxic, harmful content is on the Internet. That’s why many parents have used CyberPurify Kids to detect and blur 15 types of harmful content in real time. Don’t forget to get your children’s online protector.

The situation may seem bad but don’t risk losing this battle for your children’s safety. Let’s find out TOP 3 reasons why my child is addicted to TikTok.

TOP 3 reasons why my child is addicted to TikTok

15 seconds long and its psychological impact on your child

In a 2016 study by Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, currently, the average human attention span is 8 seconds, shorter than it was before.

According to Philipp Lorenz-Spreen of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, the explosion of content “depletes” people’s attention span, constantly pushing them to search for new content and information. That’s why people have to switch between topics, videos more often.

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Why TikTok is addictive? Platforms like Instagram or TikTok have created a format that fits this timeframe exactly, enabling your child to scroll through millions of 10-15 second videos with ease.

Currently, the average child aged 4-15 spends 80 minutes watching TikTok a day, while a video is only about 15 seconds long, which means TikTok has engaged your child to scroll through about 320 videos a day.

why my child is addicted to TikTok

After gaining attention, short video platforms like TikTok in particular target the user reward system. Inherently human actions are motivated by essential needs such as food, sex, sleep, etc., and rewards.

Our brain feels rewarded when performing an action or behavior that gives us pleasure. And viewing interesting, new information is also one of the brain-rewarding activities.

The reward system is activated by Dopamine – a neurotransmitter released during happy, enjoyable, and stimulating situations. Therefore, Dopamine creates a circle that motivates people to repeat actions that bring them joy.

This process, previously frequently found in addictive behaviors such as drug addiction or addiction to watch pornography, is now appearing in videos on TikTok.

So when your child doesn’t like a certain video, your child will go ahead and swipe down over and over to get the desired reward – fun, excitement and those interesting content out there is ready to attract your child.

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Your child can see everything on TikTok even they don’t have an account

Unlike YouTube’s age-tagging mechanism which requires users have to log in to view videos with adult content. With TikTok, for both website and app, TikTok does not require a login so your child can be able to watch all the content there. Anyone with the link to the video can reach it.

Top reason explaining why TikTok is bad for children is that TikTok doesn’t warn 13+ or 16+ content. This means that TikTok does not have a mechanism to label content by age. Because they don’t label, they don’t block access or force logins to view adult content.

How many kids use TikTok? Should I let my kid use TikTok? Why TikTok is bad for children

During the teenage years, your child is susceptible to adult influences such as revealing images, sexually stimulating content, etc.

So imagine when TikTok doesn’t label or warn against age-appropriate content, as well as let users watch every video, how much harmful and inappropriate content has your child seen?

TikTok’s algorithm

Social networking platforms like TikTok, Instagram use algorithms to understand deeply each user’s behaviors such as what videos they like and dislike.

For example, when your child watches a certain video longer than others, re-watches the video more than once, likes or shares a video, the algorithm assumes that your child likes this genre and tracks the content information via Hashtag #.

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The algorithm then evaluates every video uploaded and estimates the likelihood that your child will like it using the collected information.

That’s why when your child interacts with a particular type of video such as a dance cover video with certain background music, there will be a high likelihood that your child will see similar videos.

So, how do I keep my child safe on TikTok?

You can’t let your child freely watch and post on TikTok, but you also can’t ban your child from watching/using TikTok, you will limit your child’s connection with friends, access to interesting content, or prohibit your child’s creativity. 

The line between protecting a child and restraining a child is extremely blurring.

Accept that any social network has its good and bad sides. What needs to be done is to approach the good side and limit the bad ones. Here are some tips for parents:

  • Familiarize yourself with social media: Don’t be passive, actively update and learn the platforms that are popular with young people. You can know deeply what harms them.
  • Continuously talk to your child about what is and isn’t right for him on social media and the Internet. Remind them to let you know when they see something that concerns them online.
  • Use a content filter: Experts say children under 8 spend 65% of their time on the Internet. Pornographic, horrifying content with psychological health attacks is often directed at viewers who are not yet fully aware of this perception.

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 porn but also murder, terror fathers, ghosts, etc. things that terrify your child).

  • 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, where both you and your children interact every day.
  • Teach your child about digital footprint: what your child sends or posts will live forever on the Internet and your child is at a very high risk of online sexual assault and falling prey of sexual predators, online sexual assault, blackmail.
  • Watch for unusual signs: staying up too late, staying away from family members, suddenly refusing to use social media, low self-esteem, stay quiet, etc. This could be a sign that your child has been sexually assaulted online or has become a victim of online bullying.

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