By: Bailey Duran

While the sheer number of apps available on smartphones, iPods, and tablets is overwhelming, it should come as no surprise that the app to take the crown as most popular and most downloaded is TikTok. Merged with an app called, TikTok is an app that allows users to create videos up to one minute that usually include dancing or lip-syncing to popular, trending audio.
The app exploded in popularity after it was purchased by the Chinese company Bytedance in 2017, and it is now the most-downloaded app with 3.1 billion downloads and over 1.5 billion active users going into 2023. Lately, TikTok has come under increased scrutiny, and many are concerned that the app is unsafe due to its ties to China. It turns out those concerns are well-founded.
TikTok explicitly states in their terms of service that the app mines data along with sharing data with third-party organizations that they notably choose not to disclose. This data mining isn’t just data used on the app. TikTok is able to track phone usage, whom you talk to, and more. They even keep track of sensitive information typed into the device such as personal addresses or passwords - that information is all stored in the app’s database.
Even location services data is collected
China has banned its citizens from using it - having their citizens use a similarly designed app called Douyin. Douyin's content features videos on patriotism, at-home science experiments, and has a 40-minute time limit. Other nations such as India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are taking measures to restrict access because of the mature and explicit content that can be found on the platform. TikTok is rated 16+ and the terms of service say that children younger than 13 are not allowed on the app. Yet, there is no effective age verification system, allowing children of any age to download the app and create an account. It can be done easily without parental knowledge or involvement.
Unless a profile is manually set to “private” mode, it is automatically public. Anyone can view videos or send a direct message to a child who is using a public profile. Inappropriate and suggestive content abounds on the app, and it is merely a hashtag or word search away. Children can also be targeted with these kinds of videos on their “For You” page. Unlike Instagram where a person’s feed is filled with posts from the people they choose to follow, TikTok’s “For You” page is an endless stream of content from random accounts that you may not follow, which makes it harder to control what your child sees.
TikTok Profile Page
TikTok is often known for its content and the addictiveness of the app. Popular challenges  have caused severe injury or even death countless times. In 2021, a 10-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy both died in separate instances after attempting a “blackout” challenge on TikTok. In the challenge, participants were encouraged to cause themselves to faint by choking themselves.
In our course, parents will learn how to safely monitor their child’s activity on TikTok, set parental controls, connect their account to their child’s, stay in the know on updates to the app, and more. Our courses aren’t only a great way to set boundaries but can be used as a way to talk to children about responsible usage, how to handle negative comments, what’s real and what’s not, as well as encouraging children to voice their questions or concerns.
Check out to register for our courses today and learn how to keep your child safe – and give you peace of mind – while they are active on TikTok.

What Parents Should Know About TikTok

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