LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As parents, the clock is ticking to protect our children against the dangers of social media.
A new study is shedding light on how dangerous popular apps, like TikTok, can be among kids, and why it’s harder than ever to keep our children safe.
“We know that a significant amount of children are being contacted via popular livestreaming apps, such as TikTok, by abusers who are using them as a hunting ground,” a spokesperson for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said.
TikTok launched in China as “Douyin” in September of 2016. The app describes itself as a way for users to “capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone.”
To use the app, formally known as Musical.ly, users tap and hold to record a short video, then they’re able to add music and video effects. The video can then be uploaded using different hashtags to connect users interested in specific topics or trends.
It’s much like the six second video-sharing app Vine, which shut down in 2017, except TikTok videos normally last around 15 seconds.
The app is growing in popularity among teens who like to share videos of themselves lip-syncing, dancing or pulling a prank.
While the app requires users to be at least 13 years old to use, the app doesn’t have a way to tell if users are being truthful about their age.
NSPCC said it surveyed 40,000 school aged children and found that 25 percent had livestreamed with a stranger. One in 20 children were asked to take their clothes off during their livestream or in the comments posted on the video, according to NSPCC.
When reached for comment, NSPCC said TikTok did not immediately respond.