What is the effect of the TikTok app on kids?May 2, 2020
One of the world’s most downloaded phone applications, TikTok has been getting a lot of attention over the past few years. Its popularity increased even more during thanks to the quarantine period. TikTok has sixty percent of the app’s monthly users aged between 16 and 24. Despite becoming a distinguished part of many young people’s activity, TikTok still raises some concerns, especially to adults and parents, on the detrimental effects of video streaming, especially on children under 10 years old.
What is the TikTok app?
TikTok was created in 2016 by Chinese developers – ByteDance and Douyin. To internationalize the app, they changed the app name to TikTok. Within a year, the app had more than 100 million users.
TikTok is a free social video-sharing app that allows users to watch, create, or share videos on social media. And They also can follow, like, or comment on every video posted in this application.
In 2018, Bytedance has consolidated the user accounts of Musical.ly and TikTok, merging the two apps into one under the name TikTok, which increases the app’s popularity even further.
How popular is Tiktok?
According to the graph, TikTok has more than 800 million active users worldwide which make become TikTok the 9th place in terms of application popularity, led by better well-known sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
Why is TikTok so popular?
1.) Many celebrity and net idol plays TikTok
Famous people are increasingly interested in playing TikTok because of its easy access to viewers. Hence, having celebrities using TikTok propagate this app to be more well-known.
TikTok has a lot of content (and most of them are funny). It is a place where people can learn new things from videos shared and show others their talents and creativity by sharing videos.
3.) Easy to get famous
The interesting thing for TikTok is that when we post a video, it will randomly be shown on other people’s feeds. The more people liking your video, the more people your will video appears on their feed.
The positive effect of TikTok
As we know, Tiktok is a place where people can show their talents such as drawing and singing. Becoming well known, although difficult in real life especially for an unknown artist, can be much easier in TikTok.
Contents in TikTok don’t only help youngsters to find potential interests but also inspire youngsters to be more creative assertive, as well as encouraging kids to become a better person like the idols within TikTok.
Some contents in TiktTok are surprisingly and persistently useful. Some accounts are created specifically for educating us such as teaching us new languages, demonstrating how to cook, or showing how to draw. And the best part is – it is free! We can learn without having to pay for it.
The negative effect of TikTok
TikTok is seen to be a time-waster for kids because they spend a lot of time creating music videos instead of studying or working on improving themselves which can be proved to be a lot more advantageous to them in the future.
More importantly, people believe that TikTok is dangerous for its users, especially for children. In India, the government ordered Google and Apple to take down the app due to concerns about the spread of inappropriate content.
Many parents are concerned about this as these inappropriate contents can be a bad influence on their kids. Although does not allow people under 13 to play, TikTok still has many kids who are under 13 who purposefully lie about their age to avoid the restriction despite being underage. The parents also have concerns around the inappropriate language of some of the videos posted which may not be suitable for younger children.
Most kids in that age are trying to find themselves, hoping to become someone that matters. In hope of achieving that, they copy the way famous users, who the children admired, do to get famous, which often is too dangerous for them.
There are many peculiar and dangerous trends being viral in TikTok, some even are life-threatening.
1.)Skull breaker Challenge
Skull breaker Challenge, a campaign that three people have to stand next to one another in a line, led to many skull injuries. When the person in the middle jumps in the air, the people on the rim sidekick out the legs of the middle person.
2.)Eating raw roti dough
Eating raw roti dough challenge was another challenge popular in Thailand. When this trend went viral, many kids try eating a raw roti dough from sellers not knowing how dangerous it is. Many people reported having diarrhea after they had eaten the raw dough.
Furthermore, some kids copy the behavior from bad influencers. They lip-sync the songs that have a bad meaning, not knowing what it even means. Seeing their children singing along the beats of sexually explicit lyrics or degrading women must be difficult for their parents.
Not having enough awareness to distinguish the good from the bad influencers, these children might be preyed on by strangers in TikTok. The kids might unintentionally share their private information in public, which is easily accessed by strangers.
Does the TikTok app have any safety features?
It has a digital wellbeing element which alerts users who have used the app for more than 2 hours, preventing the users from using the app for too long. You can also turn on the ‘restricted mode’ to filter out inappropriate content on the app.
Also, you can set your accounts to be private so that all your videos can only be seen by the people you allowed, limiting incoming messages to the followers only.
Now, TikTok has new safety features that will allow parents to control the content their children see on the platform. The feature will enable parents to control the amount of screen time allowed on TikTok, limit who can send a direct message to the account, and restrict types of content that appear in the feed of their child’s account.
Read more about new safety feature https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-gb/family-safety-mode-and-screentime-management-in-feed Read more about community guidelines https://www.tiktok.com/community-guidelines?lang=en
Is TikTok really harmful? Personally, I would say that it is harmful, but we can handle those risks. New safety features really help parents to control the content their children see. What we really have to do is to talk to our children to teach them what is good and bad behavior. You could try this app with your children so you can use the TikTok application together with them.