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TikTok Is A Magnet For Pedophiles And Not Safe For Kids, Cyber Security Expert Warns Parents

TikTok Is A Magnet For Pedophiles And Not Safe For Kids, Cyber Security Expert Warns Parents

The immensely popular social media app has already been downloaded more than 800 million times worldwide.

The extremely popular social media platform TikTok has taken the world by storm and has already been downloaded more than 800 million times worldwide. In the U.S. itself, the app has been downloaded more than 80 million times, accounting for 10% of its worldwide presence. 



 

 

Developed in China, TikTok has already taken over Snapchat in popularity since its launch in 2017 to markets outside of China. It allows for 3 to 60 seconds of video creation and has multiple interactive formats. The most important aspect of this social media platform, however, is that kids as young as 13 years of age can also signup and be present online.

As more and more people started using the app, safety and privacy concerns started to emerge too. But now, the concerns have grown to serious proportions as there may be a good chance that pedophiles may be using this app to groom and mold kids and manipulate them. This is easy because anyone can contact a person on TikTok unless their profiles have been made private.



 

 

An Australian cybersecurity expert has raised this concern, as reported by Daily Mail. Speaking with the publication, 'Cyber Cop' Susan McLean said that the app was 'not safe' for kids due to grooming, bullying and privacy fears.  The concern is there because the app has so far, according to reports, failed to remove suspicious profiles even after complaints being made of their behavior. 

TikTok (Source: Unsplash)

 

Susan said: "Any app that allows communication can be used by predators. TikTok does not have the same safety sessions as some of the more well-known apps and routinely do not remove accounts that have been flagged as potentially a predator." She added, "Paedophiles like to watch kids sing and dance so they can take the videos and share them.  The data gathering is a huge concern and if the government is worried then it is not a place for kids."

TikTok had earlier tried to explain to the parents how they can switch their kid's profiles to private but they also admitted that "even with a private account, profile information – including profile photo, username, and bio – will be visible to all users."



 

 

Reports of kids, as young as 8 years old on TikTok, had surfaced from the U.K. and had raised red flags over the privacy issues with the investigation revealing that these kids were being groomed by pedophiles. The report said that they were being bullied and were getting inundated with explicit messages on the platform.

Incidentally, the Chinese owned company 'TikTok also received the biggest fine in US history for gathering data on kids and selling it,' said Susan. But a TikTok spokesperson had recently said in a statement: "TikTok is an app for users age 13 and over, and we’ve given the app a 12+ App Store rating so parents can simply block it from their child’s phone using device-based controls."

 



 

 

The Spokesperson added: "In our Safety Centre we offer a library of educational resources for teens and their families, including safety educational videos and a safety blog series.  As one of many apps with teenage users, we encourage parents to monitor their teenager’s account, review and adjust their privacy settings, help them report any inappropriate behavior, and have an open dialogue with their teenagers about how to be responsible and safe in all online activity."

The fact, however, remains that kids are vulnerable to social media apps and they have been targeted by pedophiles who keep a close watch on social media platforms to select their victims. It is, therefore, highly recommended that parents remain aware of the dangers and explain the same to their kids for their own safety.

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