Parents: Beware of the Tik Tok app


Since August last year, Tik Tok has now overtaken Instagram, YouTube, Spotify and Snapchat as the top free music video app in the App Store.  It is targeted at children and teenagers and combines lip-syncing, built in video effects and social media.

It was developed in China and its lure is that it allows users to create video clips, edit them and add special effects.  Users can also watch clips of others that have been uploaded onto the site.

Why should parents be wary of this?  As the user makes lip-syncing videos to their favourite songs this may include some mature language and sexual content in the songs that are popular on the app and there is no way to filter this content.

What’s more, there are only two privacy settings: private and public.  The default on this app is set at public and it’s often the case that videos have been uploaded before parents are even aware that such settings should be changed.

The most alarming aspect of this app is that it can allow strangers to direct message your children when the privacy setting is set at public.   An incident was reported in the news (ABC News) where a father of a 7 year old (who is also a police officer) was warning parents after his daughter was contacted by a predator on Musical.ly (Musical.ly rebranded itself as Tik Tok and followers were moved over after updating the app).

The app has been banned in Indonesia because it contains negative videos that are deemed to be a bad influence on young people and there is a call in India for the app to be banned with claims that it is leading to cultural degradation.

Parents should carefully monitor the apps that their children use.  This comes as no surprise.  But, in addition to a parental permission block on new apps, parents should also ask their children to educate them on any new apps they want to download.  You can then do some research to maximise the privacy settings on the app to make it safe for their children to use.

For parents of older children and teens, reminding their children that their online activity (even under a fake username) could damage their reputation.

I hope that this privacy blog has been helpful but please don’t hesitate to contact me, Louise Weatherhead at Louise.weatherhead@sintons.co.uk or by telephone on 0191 226 3699 if you require any further information.


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