TikTok Family Safety Mode: What Parents Need To Know

by | Apr 16, 2020

You may have heard of TikTok, a lip-syncing social media app particularly popular with teens, and that has also surpassed snapchat and instagram in downloads.

However, the app’s safety for young people has come into question, and TikTok very recently released it’s new ‘Family Safety’ Mode. So what is it, and what do you need to know?

Here are our TikTok fast facts and safety tips below:

What is TikTok?

A social media app, users mainly create music and dance videos to popular music. It’s also possible for real money to be spent on the app through the purchasing of ‘coins.’ Coins can then be used to purchase ‘gifts.’

What is the age rating on TikTok?

According to TikTok’s terms and conditions, users need to be: 13+. There is however no age verification process in place and it’s possible to falsify your birth date to gain access to the platform. For more information on apps and their age ratings, check out our guide here.

What is Family Safety Mode?

Family Safety Mode allows a Parent/Carer to link their TikTok account with their teen’s TikTok account. Family Safety Mode can be accessed via the digital wellbeing settings on TikTok and needs to be active on both devices. On their own device, Parents/Carers can then control certain safety features on their teen’s account.

A Parent/Carer must have their own TikTok account to access this feature.

What safety features are available?

Screen Time Management:

A Parent/Carer can now set up a daily screen time limit on TikTok, and password protect this feature.

Direct Messages:

Parents/Carers can restrict who can send their teen direct messages (DM). The messaging function can also be turned off altogether.

Restricted Mode:

Parents/Carers can now restrict the appearance of content that may be inappropriate. Whilst this is not 100% foolproof, it does go some way to filtering out mature content. However, a child may still come across explicit song lyrics or content that may not be appropriate for their age.

Are these safety features only available on Family Safety Mode?

No. These features are available for a user to set up themselves on the app, and can be set directly onto your teen’s account, and pin locked. Family Safety Mode allows Parents/Carers to control these settings remotely from their own device.

Are there any concerns with Family Safety Mode?

The main concern is that Family Safety Mode may close off the conversation between a Parent/Carer and their child. Whilst the safety features are useful, the main thing is that an open conversation about Internet Safety takes place regularly. From our Internet Safety Training for students, professionals and parents/carers, we understand there is a fine balance between keeping young people safe online, and allowing them some independence.

If you are going to use Family Safety Mode, ensure it isn’t a substitute for talking about internet safety, use it to support regular conversations and discuss e-safety with your child often.

Could this feature be helpful during the Coronavirus Outbreak?

In short, yes. The reality is that we don’t know when lockdown will end. If you have teens at home and you’re currently all inside together, this feature could help to allow your teens some privacy whilst still having involvement in their internet usage.

What else can you do?

Privacy Settings:

As with many social media platforms, accounts are usually public by default. Privacy settings need to be applied manually. In privacy settings, you can decide who can send you messages and comment on your content, you can also decide who can duet with you on the app.

Make videos with your teen.

Being involved with a young person’s internet use is key in keeping them safe online. Ensure video making takes place in a public space in the house. E.G: Living Room/Dining Room. Film the video for them, or even be in it with them. Ask them to show you their favourite TikTok accounts, and become involved in their online world.

Keep Talking.

We provide Internet Safety Workshops for thousands of young people every year across schools and other educational settings to help them develop digital resilience, which is key in young people staying safe online. As much as possible, keep having a consistent, regular conversation about internet safety.

OpenView Education is a training and educational company, providing Anti-Bullying, Internet Safety Workshops and Wellbeing Workshops for schools. Find out how we can help your school here.

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