TIKTOK: IS IT A CONCERN?


TikTok – the newest fad in social media – is taking the world by storm. This addictive video-sharing network originating from China is causing quite the stir. Teenagers love it and parents loathe it. Should we be worried?


Siphokazi Mngadi (16), a regular TikTok user, says she uses it mostly on weekends as it keeps her busy and entertained. ‘For the most part the content is funny and it’s also a way of expressing yourself to the world, especially if you want a career in entertainment,’ she adds. However, her mom Regina Mngadi (49), is not convinced.

‘Some of the videos are promoting drinking and general bad behaviour. There is no benefit to them,’ she says. ‘Children are at risk of being harassed and their private information stolen by hackers. Instead of wasting time viewing meaningless videos they should be studying.’

Siphokazi agrees that it does keep her away from her studies and that some information can be used to harass teenagers like herself. But Regina makes a point of being aware of what her daughter is exposed to. ‘I will step in if my daughter starts behaving badly as a direct result of using TikTok,’ she adds.



WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW

WHAT IS IT?
TikTok is used to create and upload your own videos, whether you are singing or dancing. You can also see and interact with other users’ videos.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
You can sign up with either a phone number or email address, or through your Facebook or Instagram account. From there you can search for your favourite interests such as animals, sport, make-up, pop culture. Many use the app to create their own videos which other people can view.

HOW SUITABLE IS IT FOR CHILDREN?
TikTok’s emphasis is on popular music, which might include swearing, inappropriate sexual lyrics and people wearing revealing clothing and dancing seductively. On the other hand, it will not allow you to search for content labelled as ‘sex’ or ‘porn’.

IS THERE AN AGE RESTRICTION?
Yes, 13 years.

MY CHILD IS UNDER 13, WHAT CAN I DO?
Report the account at privacy@tiktok.com and they will deactivate it.

ARE THERE PARENTAL CONTROLS?
Yes, you can set time limits on usage, filter mature content and you can disable direct messaging.

HOW DO I DO THIS?
  • Go into the account and tap the three dots at the top right of the user profile. Select ‘Digital Wellbeing’ next to the icon of an umbrella. From there, select the features you want to enable/disable:
  • Screen Time Management: limits usage from 40 minutes to two hours
  • Restricted Mode: blocks mature content
  • Lock the settings with a password (For more helpful advice, visit www.commonsensemedia.org).

IS IT SAFE?
Any social media platform has risks. Your data, photos, videos and location can all be public knowledge, so people can send private (sometimes inappropriate) messages to your child.

CAN I MAKE IT SAFER?
Yes. Turn on all privacy settings, so only people you know can interact with your child’s videos and send private messages.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO USE IT SAFELY AND STILL LET MY CHILD HAVE FUN?
Join them! Make videos together. You can then control what’s being filmed, and save them as ‘private’ so only you, your child’s friends and family can see them.

 JET CLUB HELPLINES
For free advice and support on behavioural issues, Jet Club members can call our helpline.

SA & Namibia
0800 00 45 45 

Botswana, Lesotho & Swaziland
+2711 991 8258

BY HEIDI OLIVIER


TIKTOK: IS IT A CONCERN? TIKTOK: IS IT A CONCERN? Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on January 12, 2021 Rating: 5
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