TikTok has partnered with the National PTA to create a new TikTok Guide for Parents, which provides key info to help parents protect their children when they're using the app, and outlines the various measures and tools that TikTok has available to shield youngsters from online abuse and predators.
The 20-page guide covers all aspects of how TikTok works, helping parents better understand the key elements.
As you can see in these example pages, the guide covers all of TikTok's various protection elements, including comment filters and account privacy settings.
It also includes an overview of TikTok's Family Pairing feature, which enables parents to keep a close eye on what their kids are doing in the app, and notes on virtual gifting, which is not available to users under 18.
The guide also has a checklist of privacy and safety features for parents to consider to enact further protection.
Theoretically, of course, TikTok is not technically available, in full access form, for people under the age of 13 - as the guide also explains:
"The full TikTok experience is for people 13 and over, and along with an age-gate, we’ve given the app a 12+ App Store rating so that you can enable device-level restrictions on your teen’s phone."
There is a 'younger users' version of TikTok available to those under 13, which includes additional privacy and safety protections. But technically, youngsters should not be able to access the full features of the app.
Whether that's stopping youngsters from getting the full TikTok experience is hard to say, as there are ways around these restrictions, and with internal data from TikTok showing that a third of all TikTok users in the US are aged under 14, that remains a significant concern. Which is why it's important for parents to understand as much as they can about the app, and as it continues to gain popularity and momentum, more youngsters are being drawn to it, in order to see what their friends are posting, what their favorite creators are publishing, etc.
Given this, it may well be worth parents downloading the new guide, and reading through the various tips and notes. Because even if you don't think your child is at risk, they may well be, and they may well be accessing TikTok already, without your knowledge.
TikTok has come under scrutiny, in various regions, over potential content concerns, and exposing young people to potentially harmful content.
The app is currently under investigation by The European Commission due to concerns that it exposes young users to inappropriate material, while it's also faced temporary bans in both Italy and Pakistan due to related concerns.
And then there are the risks of bullying and abuse, and the extended impacts of such comments.
Even TikTok's most famous user has highlighted this as a concern, with Charli D'Amelio noting earlier this year that she'd 'lost her passion' for the platform due to the constant flood of negative comments on her clips.
TikTok is working to address these elements, and has continued to add in more content restrictions and control tools. But even so, it's important for parents to understand the risks, and to look to educate their kids on such where they can.
As such, this could be a valuable guidebook to bookmark.
You can download the TikTok/PTA parents guide here.