CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - If you have a tween or teen, odds are they either have an app called TikTok on their phone or their friends do.
It’s an incredibly popular app that reportedly is now also a magnet for child predators.
An app called Musical.ly merged with an app called TikTok last summer, meaning all of those Musical.ly users suddenly had TikTok accounts. Since then the app has also been the top download among young teens, beating out Instagram and Facebook with millions of new users.
With TikTok, kids make short videos, and share them with friends. Sounds innocent enough, but an investigation by tech website Motherboard found a large community of adult users on TikTok soliciting nude photos from kids. Some of those users even sent explicit videos to children.
One of the main issues with TikTok, just like with Musical.ly, is that when kids sign up to use the app, the default setting on their accounts is “public” meaning anything they share can be seen by any other user in the world.
But even setting an account to private doesn’t eliminate the risk your child could stumble onto porn while using the “search” feature.
And the app collects an alarming amount of data from its young users, including location, phone and social media contacts and more.
There are parental controls that can be set with the TikTok app. But the Simply Money Point here is that parents need to think very carefully about this app before they let their young children use it.