TicTok:  A Dangerous Social Media Platform for Youth

We live in an era where social media platforms like TikTok have become an integral part of our daily lives.  TikTok is a dangerous app that can have negative effects on young people’s mental health and expose them to inappropriate content and online predators.

TikTok’s places an emphasis on popular music with many videos include profanity, sexual lyrics.  This platform allows its users to create and watch up to a 15 second video content. This very heavily advertised app fits a ready-made desire for micro-entertainment.

TikTok’s content, known to be highly sexualized, often contains profanity and other explicit content. It encourages its users to be very creative, which is part of the reason you will hear and see sexual content.  Even certain narratives are promoted.  It is simple for children to create, watch, and share 15-second videos shot on mobile devices.

TikTok’s highly addictive nature has young people spending hours scrolling through videos. The platform’s algorithm is designed to show users personalized content that motivates them to stay on the app for as long as possible. This can lead to negative effects on young people’s mental health, such as decreased self-esteem and addiction.

This highly addictive can track your location. In the US, TikTok can collect biometric data including your face and voiceprint.  It can also predict your age, gender and interests based on your activity.

Certain permissions allow TikTok to:  Access the camera and take pictures/video, use the microphone (and record sound), the device’s WIFI connection, and the full contact list on the device.  TikTok can even determine if the internet is available, and to access it.  TikTok receives information including a person’s IP address, their web browsing habits and search history.

TikTok allows third-party trackers on its platform, meaning your Tiktok data can go into cyberspace. Those third-party trackers can also track your activity even after you close Tiktok. This data can be shared with third-party advertisers and even governments, including China’s authoritarian government. The platform has been banned in several countries, including India, due to concerns over data privacy.

TikTok’s design makes it easy for strangers to contact young people, putting them at risk of online predators. The app’s messaging feature can be used to send inappropriate messages or to groom children.

TikTok, with over 3 billion Downloads, has more than 1.5 Billion Active Monthly Users.  Some studies show that approximately 20% of Internet Users Use TikTok By deleting your account and uninstalling the app from your phone, TikTok can’t collect your data going forward.

However, it’s important to note that the data that TikTok has already collected from you before you deleted your account may still be retained by the company. It’s also worth considering that other apps and websites may also be collecting data about you, and that deleting TikTok alone may not fully address all privacy concerns.

It’s always a good idea to review and adjust the privacy settings that can override how much data is tracked.  Do this on all of your devices and apps to ensure that you are comfortable with the data that is being collected and how it is used.       As a parent, it is crucial to monitor your child’s social media activity, and educate them on safe online behavior. We recommend considering other social media platforms that have better privacy and safety policies.