There have been a series of dangers associated with the TikTok social app. However, on the surface, the TikTok app does not represent its dangers and devastating effects, especially on the younger ones. Some parents also get thrilled by the joyful and exciting moments their children display using the app that they summarily conclude ‘it’s just all fun’.
But hey, Dad! Hi mom! Sorry to burst your bubbles, you should be more concerned than thrilled about the safety and mental health of your kids while using the app.
Of course, we are not talking about ISIS level security concerns or a level 7 automated cyber theft and hacking. But then, nobody wants to have a child who is chronically addicted to this dopamine-stimulating addictive social network.
Most children are in a more vulnerable position while using the TikTok app due to social influence, impulsivity, Naivety and general immaturity in their decision making ability. This is why parental guidance is of a very high importance.
A late 2019 TikTok challenge had children superglue their lips and then post it on the social media app to get validation and following from other kids who were mostly inspired to do the same.
Another toxic challenge called the food coloring challenge saw even more children and young adults consuming coloring at a disturbing rate. This challenge was heavily condemned by the public. However, as at the time of writing this article, videos of this dangerous act have not been taken down by the Social Network.
In April 2020, the Naked Challenge took over the TikTok app. The challenge saw participants walked into the room unclad to record the reaction of their supposed boyfriends.
So, as fun as the TikTok app may appear, this article is about the security concerns and dangers that users should be aware of – some of which may be addressed by following our TikTok Safety Guides.
Top 5 dangers of the TikTok app.
1. Addiction due to increased screen-time
Popular mobile analytics tool App Ape lab declared that teenagers are addicted to TikTok. According to data furnished by App Ape, the average activation count for the TikTok app is 43.4 times a day as against twitter’s 15.5 times daily. You’ll agree with me that’s some real scary stats right there.
With loads of thrilling and exciting contents uploaded on the app every second, it is very easy to become addicted to the app. Even young adults on the app had recently complained of the addictive nature of the app. And of course, addiction comes with a lot of adverse outcomes like; lack of sleep and rest time, anxiety, less time for school- and academic-related work, etc.
2. Security and Privacy Concern
A report by the New York Times revealed that the American government had opened a national security review on the TikTok app and its growing influence in the United States.
This is following a massive fine of $5.7 million slammed on the company by the Federal Trade Commission in the US for breaching the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
The COPPA mandates company to secure parental consent before collecting data of kids under the age of 13. It was proven that TikTok had failed to do so, hence the fine.
Following the allegation, which turned out to be accurate, and the security review opened by the US government, parents became increasingly worried over the data and privacy integrity of their kids who use the app. Although there is no definitive proof suggesting that TikTok uses members’ data for any unwholesome act or in exchange for monetary or other value.
3. Exposure to Explicit and Inappropriate Contents
There is a famous saying that goes thus; you can control your actions, but you cannot control other people’s actions. This applies to the TikTok app; you may control what you post or what your kids post; however, you do not have such liberty with what other users post.
According to a mom’s narrative, she had always thought the app to be cool until she downloaded the app and began following her child’s friends and viewing the contents available to her. Some contents were awful and too explicit for a child.
You might not find outright nudity or pornography. However, seeing pictures and videos of people who are scantily dressed, or songs with explicit and vulgar words is more than enough worry for a parent whose child has access to the app.
4. Kids are at Risk of Exploitation or Victimization
TikTok is a social networking platform where users can meet just about anyone from around the world. Not everybody will come there with sincere intentions, plus kids are more vulnerable to deception.
The app enables users to do a duet together, either by lip-syncing or dancing together in a video remotely. BuzzFeed News reported in 2019 that a few of the users often use a request for duets to exploit young users and send them explicit messages.
5. Young Users are at the Risk of Developing Self-esteem or Anxiety issues
In a bid to be famous and gain public approval, kids may become highly pressured and self-conscious while creating contents for the app. This may be worse for kids who have faced disapproval or trolling reactions in the past.
Sometimes, the inability to meet fictional standards created for an on-screen audience could be fatal to the self-esteem of a child. At their age, they may find it difficult to determine when something is fake or doctored.
The act of trolling is popular on the TikTok app. Other users often troll or make fun of content creators which they deem uninteresting.