Pros and cons of TikTok for kids, l believe this is a topic of discussion in every home with kids having access to the internet, smartphones and social media. What is wrong, what is right? I will go for what makes sense in regards to this topic.
TikTok is the trends maker currently and everything on it is readied to have great exposure. Everyone is leveraging it for one thing or the other – fame or money. But how serious have you considered both sides of this platform on kids’ and youths’ mental health, learning, development etc?
There is a huge argument on the merits and demerits of TikTok usage by kids and everyone who has got engaged in it has a point or two to support his / her argument. As we revealed in our recent article on the percentage of gen Zs on this lip-syncing platform and the growing number of smartphone users, we believe kids are labelled as gen Zs on this platform too. But wait, who is a kid?
A kid or a child is a young person who is within the age range of 1 to 18 per United Nations Convention stats, hence they are not allowed direct access to a lot of things unless under a guardian’s supervision. They have fewer rights and responsibilities than adults. But since we are talking about TikTok, we will use their age range which starts from 13 to define a ‘kid for TikTok’, sadly the platform has no age verification tool to verify new sign-ups.
Now let us dive into the pros and cons of TikTok for kids.
Pros And Cons Of TikTok For Kids
The TikTok Build Up
The TikTok app exploded massively due to how it was built up initially. All you need is an email or phone number or an already set social media account to have one set and running. All it has is short videos – mainly comical – that keep popping up as you scroll on. Easy to get lost in, very simple, user friendly and finally a simple interface with popular music, dance moves, easy to mimic or create to join the trends.
- A lot of fun for kids to enjoy – entertaining content, duets comedy skits which can all be followed just by searching a hashtag and a lot of recommended ones, colourful and seasonal graphics.
- A lot of creative tools are available for creative kids who will love to exhibit their talents in any way.
- Easy exposure to harmful content – TikTok keep users on its platform longer by showing more and more content depending on those you have already viewed or liked on the platform. Kids do stumble over new things that are not meant for them as TikTok has no tool for regulating content based on age.
- Joining viral challenges has been what sent more users to TikTok than any other thing. And if your kid happens to chance on these dangerous challenges, be ready to face dangerous and odd behaviours, an example is the ‘eye bleach challenge’ described by DefendYoungMinds
Defend Young Mind described the eye bleach challenge as a fake and dangerous joke after some naive kids got hurt from putting the bleach on their eyes.
3. TikTok is a frenzied space – music playing, graphic flying, emojis and memes with voices you ‘must’ in a default autoplay mode. This can be too loud, chaotic and disruptive for kids.
How TikTok Make You Interact With Others.
TikTok is designed to make you feel among or involved by the likes, comments and recreation of trends and sharing and sharing of more videos which get addictive when you finally start getting the attention. Pros and cons of TikTok for kids are in every section of the platform and the interactions are no exception but l rate it as the most dangerous part. Remember TikTok is one of the popular apps that have no rules against sexually suggestive content among others.
- It makes young people feel included in a very creative community.
- Making friends and connecting with a crop of people across the world from the comfort of your home.
- TikTok has some privacy settings that can keep you safer on the platform when it comes to interacting with people. Enabling these features can help but it is not a guarantee.
- The social validation from these interactions and engagement can affect kids and even adults negatively if they fail to collect these validations from other users by killing their self-esteem.
- Unless the right privacy settings are put in place, the predators will prey where your children play and for your information, the predators can come in any form. They can even be in the close circle you have set yourself with the privacy settings.
How The Safety And Privacy Control Works
TikTok has some security and privacy settings in place to protect its users and their content. The settings are in categories of 3:
- Account Settings – This helps regulate your privacy preference, information and public presence
- Community Controls – This regulates who interacts with you and your content
- Content Controls – This is where manage the content that appears in your For You feed.
Aside from these settings, the user agreement makes it clear that the platform is for 12+ and even those under 18 must have parental consent.
- On TikTok’s privacy page, parents can learn how to secure their wards’ accounts, content and connection.
- You can choose to off your comment section, limit it or leave it open for everyone. Not only comments but DMs and duets.
- ByteDance, the mother company that runs TikTok has promised to increase the number of its moderators from 6,000 to 10, 000 after many complaints about sexually aggressive and cruel content on the platform.
- For kids, TikTok is building a new feature called Digital Wellbeing that controls how much time kids spend on the platform
- The weirdest and rarest thing about TikTok is you can use it without creating an account or logging in, In that case, all a kid will need to access this platform is a smartphone with internet connectivity.
- As said in the beginning, there is no filter based on age though some search terms and hashtags can be blocked for kids. This means they can still come across content not meant for them.
- Due to the rapid growth of TikTok, it has become a breeding ground for everything – the bad and the good. So it will be better if TikTok makes profile information private. To prevent being tracked via the platform, TikTok advised against sharing photos and personal information on the profile.
Finally, looking at these pros and cons of TikTok for kids, will you judge the debate for or against the motion that kids can use TikTok? Well, for me though cons haven’t outweighed the pros that much, I believed a wrong thing learned from this platform can ruin a child’s life forever. Perhaps kids must be educated enough on the use of social media and the internet before being given access.