7 Reasons Why TikTok For Under 13 Kids Is Not Safe

TikTok has become a ubiquitous presence in the digital world, captivating users of all ages. But when it comes to the online safety of TikTok for children under 13, questions and concerns naturally arise.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the key aspects of this popular social media platform and its suitability for young kids.

7 Reasons Why TikTok Is Not Safe For Younger Kids Under 13

Each user’s experience with TikTok is different as it depends on what content they come across.

There’s a chance that your kid will follow only healthy accounts and never come across any unwholesome content. In the same vein, there’s also a chance that they won’t.

Nevertheless, in general, TikTok isn’t a safe social media platform for kids, 13 and younger, to use.

Here are the reasons:

1. Visual Content

Mainstream social media platforms are mainly used by adults, and they upload all kinds of content that kids shouldn’t see. This is why these platforms usually have a 13-year age limit.

With TikTok, in particular, the risk is relatively higher as it’s solely a video platform. A kid, for example, may read something on Twitter or Facebook and not fully comprehend it.

With TikTok, there’s nothing to read; they see and hear everything, which makes it easier for them to recall.

They could easily start depicting what they watch, and if it’s dangerous — like the Blackout Challenge, for example — it’s a huge risk.

2. No Need To Create An Account

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All you need to start viewing content on TikTok is to download the app. As mentioned earlier, users can view TikTok videos and access profiles even without creating an account.

This is a huge risk for kids because, since there’s no account to suggest content, the app presents whatever it pleases.

Also, your kid can use TikTok without your knowledge. Perhaps you are monitoring their email and SMS inboxes, and you haven’t seen any messages suggesting ownership of a child’s TikTok account.

Without the app, you can still access TikTok via mobile or desktop browsers without creating an account.

In other words, if you set up TikTok’s parental controls within the app, your kid can simply launch TikTok in their browser and view whatever they want without worrying about any restrictions.

Check Out: Best Phone Monitoring Apps

3. Ease Of Use

Twitter is often said to be the most difficult social media platform to use. Well, you can vote for TikTok as the opposite.

When you launch the app, you just need to press the “+” button at the central bottom part of the screen and use the camera to record videos.

You can upload a video on TikTok with just four taps. It’s easier and faster to use than even Instagram and Facebook.

In other words, it won’t be difficult for your child to figure out how the platform works.

Such ease of usability means they can unintentionally upload content.

4. Privacy And Security

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Lack of privacy and the possibility of data breaches are already some of the major dangers and risks associated with using TikTok. Perhaps you can manage it by being mindful of how you use the platform, but your kid can’t.

A recent study by URL Genius, a mobile marketing company, revealed that TikTok is the social media platform that tracks users’ data the most.

According to the study, the major problem is that TikTok mainly uses third-party trackers, so you may never know who’s tracking you.

While this is up for debate, it’s a negative sign that TikTok has been involved in different privacy scandals since it went mainstream in 2020.

The platform is still under probe by the UK High Court for “processing children’s data unlawfully.” With all of these, it’s only logical that your child should not use TikTok.

5. Contact With Strangers

With TikTok’s inbox messaging, there’s the risk of your kid coming into contact with total strangers. It’s the same risk with every social media platform that supports direct messaging and commenting.

However, since the content on TikTok is visual, it’s easy for kids to become overwhelmed by the creators on the platform and develop a connection with them.

If any are ill-meaning, it’ll be easy for them to manipulate kids into doing what they want.

Notably, the TikTok “Duet” feature has been reportedly called out for enabling sexual predation. With “Duet,” your kid can remotely create and remix videos with others, who they may never know.

6. Cyberbullying

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Cyberbullying is a major problem on TikTok. The problem persists, although the developers are doing everything they can to stop it.

The majority of the victims are people who create content that others find not good enough. Undoubtedly, the most popular creators on TikTok are highly creative.

Young kids not yet up to 13 years of age have no business on such a platform. These kids can’t create professional content to match the vast creatives on TikTok, which means they can easily become victims themselves.

7. Addiction

Not many young people get addicted to social media. But, when it happens, it’s usually difficult to break. According to an Addictive Tips survey, TikTok is the most addictive social media platform, which says a lot considering it’s relatively new.

Children under 13 years of age should not have more than two hours of screen time per day, following recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Exposing kids to too much social media at such a young age could lead to them becoming dependent on these platforms. For instance, it could lead to social isolation or social media depression.

What is The TikTok Age Limit?

Tiktok age limit

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The minimum age required to create a TikTok account is 13 years. In comparison, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook also have a 13-year age limit, which means TikTok’s age limit follows the industry standard.

Therefore, younger kids, aged 12 and younger, officially shouldn’t be using TikTok. TikTok itself advises parents to prevent their kids under 13 years of age from using the platform by setting up parental controls on app stores.

Furthermore, TikTok will automatically remove any user found to be under 13 who uploads content to the platform. However, kids under 13 can use the TikTok for Younger Users version.

Also Read: What Is Monkey App? Is It Safe For Kids?

What is TikTok Family Pairing And How It Works?

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Family pairing lets parents link own account with that of child’s account and control what they do on TikTok. There are three aspects to it: Screen Time Management, Restricted Mode, and Direct Messages.

Screen Time Management lets you set how long your kids can spend on TikTok each day. Even better, TikTok randomly features short videos at the top of the screen, reminding users to take a break and do something offline.

With Restricted Mode, you can prevent specific content types from popping up on your kids’ screens. Even without family pairing, these settings are available via Digital Wellbeing controls in TikTok’s settings.

Finally, the Direct Messages option allows you to choose which accounts can message your kids, or you can turn off messaging completely. Generally, direct messaging is automatically disabled for users under 16 years on TikTok.

Connecting other accounts to Family Pairing is simple. You either type in the username and approve it from the other device, or you scan the QR code.

3 Safety Tips That Parents Should Take To Safeguard Younger Users Using TikTok

As a parent, here are measures you can take if your child must use TikTok to ensure that they have a healthy experience.

1. Utilize Privacy & Parental Controls

TikTok offers various privacy settings and parental options that parents can use to manage what their children can view. If your younger kid must use TikTok, you must employ these controls.

You must not skip the Family Pairing and Digital Well-being controls. In particular, you should set up Screen Time Management and Restricted Mode.

These parental controls are activated with a password that you’ll set, and your kids will be unable to breach the settings.

Ultimately, it’s ideal that your younger kid uses the TikTok for Younger Users version. It isn’t as “fun” as the main TikTok platform, but it’s safer for kids.

2. Make Use Of The TikTok Platform With Them

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TikTok is all about viewing, uploading, liking, and commenting on videos. If you use the platform with your kids, you can be sure that they’re not viewing any unhealthy content.

This means you’ll make TikTok videos with them and scroll through the feeds with them. Of course, you’ll have to sacrifice your time, but it’s worth it for the safety of your kid.

You get to ensure they follow the right accounts, don’t upload any harmful content, don’t view any harmful content, and don’t make or read inappropriate content.

Using the TikTok platform with your kid is also an opportunity for both of you to bond.

3. Talk To Them About Social Media

If your child is up to 10 years, at least, you can try talking to them about the dangers of TikTok, and social media by extension, when used inappropriately.

Explain to them why it’s wrong to share or view certain content or make certain comments. Discuss the possibility of meeting ill-meaning strangers as “friends” and why they shouldn’t share sensitive information with anyone.

You can encourage them to come to you for help if they encounter any unusual content or experiences.

The Best TikTok Alternatives For Younger Kids (13 & Younger)

There are over a hundred social media platforms out there, with some being exclusively for kids. Therefore, if your kids must use a social media platform like TikTok, here are the best alternatives for younger kids:

1. Zigazoo

Zigazoo launched with an unofficial moniker as “TikTok for kids.” The platform is exclusive for kids and provides a safe environment for them to explore their creativity.

Zigazoo was built by parents who didn’t like the available social media platforms for kids. In fact, they first built it for their kids.

Signing up on the platform is impossible without parental consent. Hence, you’re the one to create accounts for your kids, and you can do that using your phone number, or Google or Apple accounts.

2. YouTube Kids

TikTok and YouTube are both video-centric social media platforms. YouTube Kids is a kid-friendly TikTok alternative app that even 4-year-olds can use. You can create up to eight different profiles with one account.

The platform contains lots of creative and playful videos for kids. Despite the built-in controls, it still lets you customize your child’s experience with parental controls.

You can set screen time limits, monitor what your kids watch, block videos you don’t like, and report inappropriate videos to improve the platform.

You can also use the Approved Content Only mode to limit your kids’ timeline to select videos.

3. Grom Social

Grom Social is a kid’s safe COPPA-certified social app. The app targets users between 6 and 16 years old, which makes it a perfect TikTok alternative for your kids.

Just like TikTok, your kids can record and upload videos on Grom Social. However, it can only be viewed by kids, like themselves.

Grom Social works with parental approval. Therefore, when creating an account for your kids, you’ll have to provide Personal Identifiable Information (PII) as proof.

Once set up, you can monitor everything your kids do, including their communications, friend requests, and other connections they make.

Conclusion

Social media can be overwhelming as it’s a different world on its own. It’s easy for kids younger than 13 to be wrongly influenced by any social media app, which is why TikTok has a 13-year age limit — the same as Instagram and Facebook.

The question of whether TikTok is safe for kids depends on what content they can access.

With parental control and family pairing options, you can optimize your kids’ TikTok feeds to contain only healthy content.

However, officially, kids not yet up to 13 should not use the main TikTok version.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.