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Gunton

Primary Academy

Online Safety

What are the risks of TikTok?

Inappropriate Content

On the iOS store, TikTok is rated at 12+ and on Google Play store it is rated as ‘Parental Guidance Recommended’. Most of the videos uploaded to TikTok are light-hearted dance videos. However because the content on the platform is user generated, it’s possible for content of any kind to be uploaded. This means it’s impossible to control what will be shown in the ‘For you’ feed when a user logs in. There have been videos on TikTok that have been reported for featuring drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm and sexual content. As is the case on most social media platforms, it’s also possible for cyberbullying to take place on TikTok. This may be through the comments, reactions or Duet feature on the platform. 

Inappropriate Music

The majority of videos uploaded to TikTok are short form dance videos, it’s possible that some of the songs may feature explicit language.

Strangers Online

As with most social media platforms, TikTok makes interacting and communicating with others easy. It’s possible to comment, react and download other users content. A recent change means that for users aged 13 – 15, the default setting on their account is private. However, it is possible to change this to public. Because there are a lot of young people using the platform, the platform is prone to use by online predators.

Compulsive Design

Social Media platforms are created to be addictive. TikTok is highly engaging and entertaining, but this also means it can be difficult to come away from the platform. A user can also receive likes and reactions from the videos that they have uploaded. Social feedback of this kind can be very addictive; encouraging users to upload and interact more.

In-App Purchases

There is also the option of purchasing TikTok Coins. TikTok Coins can be used to purchase emojis within the app that retain the monetary value. These Emojis can then be sent to other users on TikTok to reward them for the videos that they have created. TikTok have created a policy that only allows users over the age of 18 to purchase TikTok Coins.

Safety Steps for Parents

Start a conversation

A great place to start when it comes to online safety is to talk about it. Speak with your child about the online risks mentioned above. Talk about the importance of keeping personal information safe; support your child in learning to become digitally resilient. Part of this also means being able to identify if someone their speaking with online is not to be trusted. For some great resources to help to talk to your young person about this, check out the Thinkuknow website.

Use Privacy Settings

With a public account, anyone can view and download your videos, even if they haven’t created a TikTok account. Talk to your young person about the benefits of privacy settings. Although there may be resistance to setting privacy settings if a user is seeking more likes and followers, emphasise the value of having greater levels of control and privacy.

Use Restricted Mode

By going to the ‘Digital Wellbeing’ section on TikTok you can enable Restricted Mode. This has been created to filter out mature or inappropriate content. While this may not perfect, it should offer some level of filtering. To set restricted mode, you will need to create a pin code.

Enable Family Pairing Mode

Family pairing mode allows you to link your TikTok with your child’s account. By using Family Pairing Mode you can change settings on your child’s account including:

  • Screen Time Management – How long the app can be used for.
  • Restricted Mode – Filtering inappropriate content.
  • Direct Messages -Turn off direct messages completely, or restrict certain users from sending messages.

 

Learn How to Block and Report

Make sure that your young person knows how to use all of the block and report features. It’s possible to restrict comments, restrict Duets, report a comment and block a user. These features can help users to have a greater level of control on the platform, but they are only helpful if your young person knows how to use them. Talk through how to make use of these settings with your young person. Find full instructions here.

Be mindful of Screen Time

Excessive screen time on social media can have negative impacts on a child's well-being. If your child is old enough to use TikTok, have a conversation with them to agree appropriate levels of screen time. You could start the conversation by asking them how much screen time per day they think would be good for them. There is also the option of setting screen time limits under the screen time management option. This allows you to limit the amount of time a user can spend on the app per day. This option can then be locked with a PIN code.

Poppy Playtime

2nd February 2022

It has come to our attention that some of our very youngest children have been watching 'Poppy Playtime' online. Below is a link to a short film which outlines some serious concerns related to the content of this game:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1-RqyuX_18

 

We strongly urge that parents monitor what their children are accessing and watching online and we will continue to raise any concerns related to online safety with parents.

 

 

ONLINE SAFETY POST – NETFLIX TV SERIES ‘SQUID GAME’

You may have heard of a Netflix TV series called ‘Squid Game’. It has come to our attention that some of our children, including some as young as KS1, may have watched it.

Released in mid-September, it is now the most popular series on Netflix. However, it has a certificate rating of 15 years old due to its extreme violence, and so it is not suitable for primary-aged children

The popular TV series has led to Squid Game-style contests and online challenges which are going viral on social media and are easily accessible to children.

Please follow the below link to understand the basis of Squid Game and the potential risks to children who might be exposed to it.

https://nationalonlinesafety.com/wakeupwednesday/squid-game-trending-across-platforms-what-parents-need-to-know

Profiles on Netflix can be set to age-restrict content.

Parental guide to Netflix here:

https://help.netflix.com/en/node/264

 
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