Tiktok safety

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Five easy ways for parents to simplify TikTok safety

Whether it’s taking part in the viral #bananadrop dance trend or watching videos of cute cats, TikTok, is the latest trend for creative and entertaining videos. Here’s how to stay safe.

Tiktok safety

Image via Adobe Stock

TikTok has taken the world by storm with 2020 being the platform’s best year, despite severe criticism it received this year for everything from security to censorship.

The platform continues to grow in popularity, and with it, the need for users to feel safe and comfortable so that they can express themselves openly and creatively.

TikTok’s favourite local creators and a digital expert share safety tips on digital safety when it comes to sharing videos on such a large platform.

Why parents should pay attention to TikTok

According to Dean McCoubrey, founder of MySociaLife, admits that understanding the digital and social landscape that teens live in nowadays is not straightforward.

In fact, it’s an entire generation apart from their parents. TikTok is, after, all geared to the teen market. Dean adds:

“The fact remains that adults – parents, teachers and counsellors – need to acquaint themselves with what media kids are consuming and then educate themselves. Given the massive following of TikTok, it is an excellent start that parents and learners are being pointed to safety features.” 

In addition, famous South African creators Kelly KiKxSemone Skosan and Courtnall Skosan share videos on user safety as well. Here’s are five things to keep in mind.

Safety on TikTok

Are you the right age?

Only users aged 13 years and older may use the app, as is stated in the platform’s Terms of Service. Parents are able to block the app in app stores for children under the age of 13.

“If you are under age 18, you may only use the Services with the consent of your parent or legal guardian. Please be sure your parent or legal guardian has reviewed and discussed these Terms with you”.

Understand how privacy works

If your child has an account on TikTok, make sure the privacy settings are in order. TikTok accounts are automatically set to public, which means anyone on the Internet can view and comment on videos.

If your account is set to private, the user will need to approve the request before the contents of the profile will be visible to the person who sent the request.

TikTok also allows users to block someone, which means that person won’t be able to interact with you at all. It’s important for parents to work with their teens and agree on privacy settings.


Noisy audience? Choose who can comment on your videos.

♬ original sound – tiktoktips

Digital well-being is important

TikTok’s Screen Time Management function can also be found in the privacy settings under “Digital Wellbeing”. It lets you set a daily time limit; once the time is used up, a password needs to be entered to continue using the app.

This is ideal for parents to control the amount of time a teen spends on TikTok.


Control how much time you can spend online. ?

♬ original sound – tiktoktips

Being thoughtful about your profile 

Be careful about information which is visible publicly. Even if your account is set to private, the user’s profile photo, user name and bio will still be available to the public.

Sharing personal details in the bio – such as your phone number, email address or physical address – could open you up to identity theft, spam and compromise your safety.

Keep personal information limited at all times. The video below illustrates the value of being thoughtful about what you choose to share in your profile and videos.  


Keep your bio sweet and simple, for privacy’s sake. ?

♬ original sound – tiktoktips

Enable Family Pairing for extra support and safety

The “Family Pairing” feature enables parents and teens to customise their safety settings based on individual needs. Through this feature, a parent can link their TikTok account to their teens’ and manage privacy controls.

Some of these controls include “Screen Time Management”, “Restricted Mode” and “Direct Messages”. It’s also suggested to peruse TikTok’s Safety Centre to stay up to date with new announcements and safety trends.