7 in 10 parents believe that their child is not safe using TikTok

Social media is at the forefront of many parents’ concerns due to the dangers it repeatedly possesses, and the amount of time spent on various platforms as current lockdown measures increase as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

After analysing Google’s search trends, online marketplace OnBuy discovered that searches for ‘TikTok safe’ are 3x higher than they were in June 2019, demonstrating that safety concerns have skyrocketed. It is evident that parents fear more about TikTok safety than Snapchat; searches regarding TikTok’s safety have overtaken Snapchat and on the way to passing Twitter.

After surveying 1,862 parents of under-17’s who use social media, OnBuy found that music based app TikTok worries parents the most, with 84% concerned about their child's habits on the platform. Other apps that worry parents include Instagram (81%), YouTube (55%) and Snapchat (54%).

Regarding recent trends on TikTok, 40% of those surveyed worry about the viral ‘skull breaker’ challenge more than any other, followed by the ‘outlet challenge’ (22%) and the ‘fainting/choking challenge’ (19%).

Their research found that:

● 89% of parents fear for their child’s safety online, and 84% worry about TikTok the most ● Only 64% of parents are certain that their child has a private/locked social media account ● 92% believe that TikTok needs to take more action to make it safer for children and teens ● 7 in 10 parents believe that their child is not safe using TikTok

Despite a whopping 89% of parents fearing for their child’s safety online - 67% still let their child take their phone to bed, where they are unsupervised and unmonitored. Of the parents surveyed, 39% find it difficult to moderate their child’s screen time and almost 1 in 4 don't monitor their social media usage at all. Interestingly, 24% are unsure if their child’s social media is on private, while only 64% of parents are certain that their child has a locked/private account. 92% of parents believe that TikTok needs to do more to make the app safer for children, as only 33% believe their child is safe using the platform.

The study then asked parents to rank their biggest fears with their child posting online content and discovered that they worry most about predators confronting their child through social media.

This is how the fears ranked:

1. Predators 2. Sexual exploitation/Explicit content 3. Cyberbullying 4. Dangerous viral challenges 5. Dangerous propaganda 6. Virtual coin payment 7. Animal abuse

TikTok has become one of the most popular apps during the pandemic due to its focus on creative and humorous viral content, which experts believe has attracted many users who want an escape from the current uncertainty in the world. According to Oberlo it is currently the most downloaded app on the app store, with over 800 million active users worldwide.

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