Expert says popular app TikTok can have pitfalls for kids

Video bursts can include suggestive content or generate harassment

Megan Lynch
December 03, 2019 - 7:45 am
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St. Louis, MO (KMOX) - If your kids are talking about the app TikTok, you may want to talk to them about how they're using it.

"TikTok now has more monthly users than SnapChat or Instagram which is amazing since it's had so much growth in such a short time," says Julie Smith, Instructor, in the School of Communications at Webster University.  Smith speaks to parents all the time about smart use of social networking apps.

She explains TikTok started as a karaoke app and now includes a little of everything, from pranks, to dance videos, to the just plain silly.  Smith warns there is a questionable side to Tik Tok, "like any other social media app there are pitfalls to it.  The comments can be really misogynistic, sometimes kind of harassing and not always nice."  And she says the videos can be suggestive or have other mature content.

Smith says it's important to set the privacy controls for who can post comments, send messages, react to or download videos.  There are ways to limit mature content, but she warns that can be easily bypassed.

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