TikTok has announced a range of new updates for its Safety Center, including new help resources to ensure that parents understand how to best protect their kids when they're using the app, and what tools they have at their disposal for reporting, detection, etc.
TikTok says that the aim of the new update is to "make it easy for parents to understand how TikTok works and the tools they can use to create the best experience for their family".
The updated Safety Center includes four additional elements:
- A new 'Guardian's Guide to TikTok', which is designed to help parents and caregivers get a better understanding of the various tools and systems on offer to help ensure users have a positive experience in the app
- A bullying prevention guide, developed in partnership with industry experts, which offers information to help people identify online bullying, as well as an overview of the available tools TikTok has to combat harassment, and links to resources, localized for your region, to get further help.
- A range of video overviews which outline how TikTok approaches user safety, and enforces its Community Guidelines, better explaining the platform's various policies
And finally, an updated set of links to more information and assistance on issues like digital literacy, well-being, and other key elements
As noted, TikTok has worked with a range of experts on the new guides, including the National Association for Media Literacy Education, the National Eating Disorder Association, the National PTA, and more, ensuring a range of inputs into its evolving informational and assistance tools.
Which is critically important, because as The New York Times reported last year, more than a third of all TikTok users in the US are aged under 14. That puts the app in a powerful position of influence for many, many vulnerable, susceptible people - which, like Instagram, could lead to significant mental health impacts and developmental issues as a result of their experiences within the visual-focused app.
Even TikTok's most famous individual user has highlighted this as a concern, with Charli D'Amelio recently noting that she'd 'lost her passion' for the platform due to the constant flood of negative comments on her clips.
Of course, anyone with D'Amelio's public profile (D'Amelio now has over 100m followers in the app) is going to get some level of backlash, no matter who they are - but still, the fact that even the app's highest-profile users have raised this as a concern underlines the importance of such efforts.
TikTok has also recently added new comment filter options and improved privacy controls for younger users, which, along with these new educational resources, provide parents and carers with a range of options to learn more about the platform, and tools to ensure that their kids remain safe.
But there's no ultimate solution. Everyone online, in any form, is at risk of backlash, and the public nature of TikTok clips lends itself to a broader set of audience responses, both good and bad.
But TikTok is also hugely popular, and at some stage, your son or daughter is likely going to want to download the app. When the time comes, these new resources may prove critical in helping guide your decision on such.
You can check out TikTok's Safety Center here.