TikTok tightens privacy settings for its youngest subscribers
Last year was a mixed year for the popular video-sharing app TikTok. After enduring the onslaughts from governments around due to security and privacy concerns, TikTok continues to see an increase in the number of users on its platform.
To address the privacy concerns raised by millions of parents, Tiktok announced this week that it will be introducing a new set of privacy settings that restricts certain features for its youngest users and changes the app’s default settings on accounts belonging to teens who are under 18.
The biggest change affects the app’s youngest users between the ages of 13 and 15, who will now have their accounts switched to private by default. 16 to 18 will also have their rules just not as tight as the younger vulnerable kids who use the app. The New York Times reported last year that about a third of the users may be under 14. It will also apply to any new subscribers.
In a statement addressed to parents on its Safety Center webpage, TikTok said:
“Hello, parents! On this page you’ll find information and resources to help you understand TikTok, the tools and controls you and your teen can enable together, and how to help your teenager have their best experience with the app and community.”
TikTok added that the full TikTok experience is intended for users age 13 and over. TikTok also asks parents to contact the company if they learn that their child under the age of 13 has registered for a 13+ TikTok account.
Besides, TikTok is also changing the default setting for comments, which can now only be set to “friends” or “no one.” TikTok has also said it is restricting how other users can interact with videos created by teens 15 and younger. They can no longer be downloaded or dueted by others in the app.
By doing this we know kids won’t be happy but everything they are doing is in the best interest of the young kids who are using the app. They said, “at this age kids really don’t think about their privacy so we have to do it for them.”
Going forward, new subscribers now have to enter their birthdate. However, since TikTok knows kids don’t actually use their real date, the company also introduced private account settings and Family Pairing to help parents and guardians keep their teens safe on TikTok.
The new feature enables parents to see who is sending DMs and who their kids are interacting with as well as limit their time on Tiktok. This may be an unpopular move for young teenagers but this is for their safety.