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At-Home Learning Resources for Elementary Students
5 Things Parents Need to Know about Tik-Tok
So here are 5 Things Parents Need to Know about TikTok.

1. Strangers Can Send Private Messages
If your child’s account is public, they may be receiving messages from complete strangers. Talking with your child about interacting with strangers, especially online, is becoming more and more important. Sometimes predators create social media accounts posing as children so that they appear more disarming or approachable. Remind your child that if they do not know them in real life, they should not be talking to them.

2. Suggestive Content Abounds
As with any social media platform, there is always suggestive content mixed into the bag. With TikTok being mostly based on music and video, profanity and suggestive clothing/dancing are the most obvious sources of adult content. But the app also encourages some themes that are much more mature than their 16+ rating would suggest. For example, a popular “challenge” on the app is the ‘#takeitoff challenge’ which encourages users to dance to a specific song while discarding layers of clothes. This is especially concerning to see as young children are encouraged to participate in what amounts to a strip-tease.

3. TikTok is extremely popular
You may be thinking, “I’ve never heard of this app before, it must be pretty unknown.” Actually, the app is incredibly popular and has been flying under-the-radar for quite a while. In the first quarter of 2018 it was downloaded 45.8 million times, to become the number one most downloaded app. While the main user demographic is located in China, it has been gaining traction in the United States over the last six months.

4. Positive- there is a ‘digital wellbeing’ setting
One of the more admirable functions in the app is the ability to turn on the ‘digital wellbeing’ setting. Once turned on, this setting will set time limits on app use, which can help your child moderate the time they spend on their phone. You can also find strategies for keeping your child’s screen time in check in this Kid Matters blog post. This setting also allows a parent to put restrictions on their child’s account. This will block videos that have been flagged as inappropriate. An important point to remember however is that not all inappropriate material is flagged properly; things slip through the cracks.

5. TikTok collects user data
While this is nothing new and all social-media apps participate in this practice, it is worth reminding parents of. This is a quote directly from TikTok’s page on privacy-

BONUS: TikTok facial recognition feature is coming
TikTok will soon be rolling out in the US a new face and object search feature and is already part of the Chinese version of the popular app. This new feature will allow users to search for a person’s face and see other videos they’ve created. You can also scan objects and clothing to get access to where you can purchase the same or similar items.

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