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How to Keep Children Safe on TikTok

Jan 31, 2023

TikTok has become increasingly popular among children and teenagers over the last few years, with over half of 3-17-year-olds using the platform. While it can be a great source of entertainment and creativity, it's also crucial to keep in mind the potential risks that come with using the app.

In this article, we will be discussing some tips to help keep your children safe while using TikTok.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a video-sharing app that allows users to create, share and view short-form videos.

What is the TikTok Age Rating?

TikTok has an age-rating of 13+, however, the app does accommodate younger users by giving them a limited app experience.

‘TikTok for Younger Users’ allows children to watch videos on their feed, but prohibits them from searching and interacting with others to prevent the sharing of personal information. Users under 13 also can’t post their own videos or have followers and their data isn’t collected.

How to Make Sure Your Child is Safe on TikTok

Make Sure Your Child Signs Up with the Correct Age

As part of the sign-up process, TikTok asks users to enter their date of birth. It is important that your child enters the correct birthdate during this step as TikTok automatically adjusts the privacy settings based on the following restrictions:

Under 13

✓ Watch videos

✗ Create & upload Videos

✗ Like

✗ Comment

✗ Follow

✗ Send/receive direct messages

✗ Livestream

✗ Buy, send or receive digital gifts

13 to 15

✓ Private account

✓ Watch videos

✓ Create & upload Videos (only followers can see and comment)

✓ Like

✓ Comment

✓ Follow

✗ Send/receive direct messages

✗ Livestream

✗ Buy, send or receive digital gifts

16 to 17

✓ Private or public account

✓ Watch videos

✓ Create & upload Videos

✓ Like

✓ Comment

✓ Follow

✓ Send/receive direct messages

✓ Livestream

✗ Buy, send or receive digital gifts

Ensure Their Account is Private

When setting up an account, any child under the age of 16 will automatically have their account set as private. This means that anyone who wants to view your child’s videos must first send a follow request which can either be approved or declined.

If your child already has an account set up that isn’t private, there’s no need to worry. You can still change this in the settings. Simply go to Settings and Privacy > Privacy and switch to a Private Account.

Turn on Restricted Mode

This feature helps to filter out any videos that may contain inappropriate or adult topics and stop them from appearing on your child’s feed, known as the ‘For You’ page. To do this, go to Settings and Privacy > Content Preferences > Restricted Mode and turn it on.

Turn on Comment Filters

You can manage who can comment on your child’s videos and stop inappropriate comments from appearing on their feed by filtering out certain words or phrases. To do this, go to Settings and Privacy > Privacy > Comments > Filter Keywords & Filter Selected Comment Types.

Here you can choose specific keywords to filter out as well as choosing to hide inappropriate or offensive comments as well as comments that contain profanity and curse (swear) words.

Set Up Family Pairing

Family Pairing allows you to connect your child’s TikTok account with your own, giving you access to parental controls to help manage who they message and how much time they spend on the app.

To do this, on your TikTok account, go to Settings and Privacy > Family Pairing > Parent.

Then, go on your child’s TikTok account, press Settings and Privacy > Family Pairing > Teen.

With your phone, scan the QR code that appears on your child's phone to link the accounts.

Manage Direct Messages

If your child’s account allows them to send and receive direct messages, you can choose who they talk to by changing the settings to ‘Friends Only’ or ‘No One’. To do this, go to Settings and Privacy > Privacy > Direct Messages and choose your preferred option.

Frequently Review Their Account

Even with all these settings in place, it’s always best to do regular checks on your child’s account to ensure they are being safe. Check who they follow and who follows them, any direct messages they may have sent and comments left on their videos.

If you are concerned that your child may be watching inappropriate content, you can see all the videos they have viewed by going to Settings and Privacy > Watch History. This displays all of the videos that have either appeared on their For You page, or ones that they have searched for in the last 180 days.

This can also give you an indication of how well TikTok’s content restriction settings are working.

Teach Your Child about Blocking and Reporting

Sometimes, as hard as we try to protect our children from harmful or offensive content, it can still appear online. That’s why it is always worth having a conversation with your children about what to do if they see something that upsets them.

TikTok has a few options available for when this happens:

Not Interested on TikTok

The Not Interested button is a feature that helps you to tailor your feed better by telling TikTok the types of video you aren’t interested in. This can be a great way for children to stop seeing types of videos they don’t enjoy.

Blocking on TikTok

If you or your child is concerned about another user, you can block their account. This stops them from being able to view your account, respond to your comments or send direct messages.

It also stops you from being able to view their content without first unblocking them. So if there are any specific accounts you are worried might appear on your child’s feed, you can block them ahead of time.

Reporting on TikTok

TikTok has a strict set of community guidelines which all users must follow. These guidelines prohibit bullying, harassment, hate speech and posting dangerous, inappropriate and harmful content.

If you or your child ever experience another user behaving in a way that is in breach of these guidelines, you can report them.

To report a video, press the arrow button beneath the ‘save’ button and click Report. You will then be prompted to answer a few multiple choice questions about why you are reporting the video.

To report a comment, hold down on it and press Report. You will then be prompted to answer a few multiple choice questions about why you are reporting the comment.

To report an account, go to their profile, select the three dots in the top right corner, press ‘Report’ and answer the multiple choice questions about why you are reporting the account.

Communicate with Your Child about Online Safety

It's crucial to have open communication with your child about their online activities. Discuss the importance of online safety and the potential risks that come with sharing personal information or interacting with strangers.

Encourage them to be mindful of the content they share and to think twice before accepting follow requests from people they don't know.

It's important to educate your child on the dangers of cyberbullying. Make sure they know to speak up if they or someone they know is being bullied online and to report any inappropriate content to TikTok.

For more information and advice about protecting your family online, check out our handy guides.

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