TikTok is making it easier for parents to safeguard their children on its video-sharing app.
New features include the ability to change the youngster’s settings remotely to block them from carrying out searches, and to prevent strangers from seeing their posts.
Children can still override these limitations but not without their parents being told.
The action comes a fortnight after BBC Panorama raised safety concerns.
The documentary highlighted how predators have abused the platform’s recommendation engine to target some of its youngest users.
It also flagged a case in which the app’s moderators did not ban a user who had been reported for sending sexual messages to an account that appeared to belong to a 14-year old girl, but was actually controlled by the programme.
TikTok has denied it was prompted into action by Panorama and said it was constantly working on new security measures.
With the update rolling out, parents will now be able to adjust an expanded range of parental control settings for their teen. They can now turn on or off the teen’s ability to access the search bar in the app, where they would otherwise be able to search for content, users, hashtags and sounds. This would be a form of punishment to an active TikTok user, as it would significantly impact the teen’s ability to discover new creators and trends or create the content of their own.
Parents can also choose to now turn on or off the ability for other users to see the teen’s “Like Videos” on their profile. And they can limit who is allowed to comment on their teen’s videos by selecting either “everyone,” “friends” or “no one.”
Lastly, they can choose to switch the teen’s account from public to private. The latter would limit discoverability to just those people the teen knows and approves. A private account makes sense for a minor child, of course, but teens often turn their account to the public in the hopes of gaining more views for their videos or going viral.