The number of TikTok downloads has reached astronomical levels making it the most downloaded app in recent years. Consequently, many countries have banned its use.
As a parent, it can seem overwhelming and even impossible to stay on top of the constant barrage of information and media noise that explicitly targets our young people. TikTok is an unsavoury app with suggestive and challenging content.
Although the minimum user age for TikTok is 13 years, it is important to note that the app does not use an age verification tool when new users sign up. Your son can access explicit and inappropriate content without restriction. The app has a ‘Digital Wellbeing’ setting which merely sets time limits on its use but does not restrict content.
Boys using TikTok are likely to view thousands upon thousands of unrealistic images of females and will also be exposed to a multitude of inappropriate risk-taking and dangerous behaviours. The idealised view of life seen through the eyes of TikTok should never be normalised - it has the potential to impact your son’s view of the world, as well as affect his self-esteem, body image and confidence. In some instances, this can lead to depression, anxiety and a significant loss of reality. Poor behaviours exhibited on TikTok are often portrayed as amusing or clever, but they actually fail to meet standards of common decency.
As always, I urge you to guide your son’s safe use of IT and continue to promote a balanced lifestyle full of activity and genuine, face-to-face connections.
We hope you enjoy your Easter break and the opportunities the school holidays bring.