10 TikTok Safe-Guarding Hacks All Parents Should Know
If any teens are living under your roof, there’s a good chance you’ve heard them talk about TikTok. The social media app has rocketed to popularity since 2016, earning 500 million active users and around 1.5 billion downloads. The draw? In creating, sharing, and watching short videos, ranging from light-hearted dance routines to more adult-themed content.
And therein lies the dilemma. While much of TikTok’s feed might feature innocent lip-syncing videos, comedy performances, and sound bites, there is invariably content unsuitable for young eyes. More concerning still is that the minimum age for account setup starts at thirteen.
So, what can you do as a parent? Well, before resorting to deleting the app, it’s first worth familiarising yourself with TikTok’s family customisation settings and iPhone’s ‘guided access’ tools. We’ve included them as part of our ten ways to keep your child safe online without interrupting their social life.
1. Take control with the ‘family pairing’ feature
Do you want to set a limit on your child’s watch time? How about limit content that isn’t suitable? In either case, it’s all possible with TikTok’s ‘family pairing’ feature. In a nutshell, these settings allow you to link your account to theirs, giving you more autonomy over what they see and when. It’s straightforward to activate; simply follow the steps in this video. To start the family pairing feature, you need to scan a QR code inside the Digital Wellbeing section of your child’s account. But don’t fret; all is made clear in TikTok’s step-by-step guide.
2. Use iPhone’s ‘Guide Access’ feature
While Apple’s ‘Guided Access’ feature is mighty useful for stopping your iPhone from responding to accidental gestures, it’s also brilliant at controlling content. For instance, if you’ve got little ones using your phone, this setting will prevent them from swiping off an app and going walkabouts in places they shouldn’t. All you have to do is go into Settings > Accessibility > then turn on Guided Access and set a passcode. Now it’s just a case of triple-clicking the side button once your child is in a safe place. You can also tell Siri, “Turn on Guided Access.”
3. Stop deleting and redownloading
We don’t need to tell you how sneaky kids are when it comes to circumventing restrictions. Growing up in the tech age means they’re often one step ahead! Take, for instance, situations where screen time is limited to a set session — many teens have twigged that they can delete the app and then reinstall it. To stop this from happening, head to the App Store and choose the option that states, “Don’t allow installing, deleting, and purchases.” That should prevent those little tricksters from buying more browsing time.
4. Block unsuitable content
Worried that your kids will stumble across a website that’s only fit for adults? That’s an easy fix. Head to your iPhone settings, clicking on ‘content and privacy restrictions.’ You can limit adult content and add any specific websites you don’t want your children to access. Away from the ‘block list’, there’s also a section for ‘approved’ websites you don’t mind them browsing.
5. Don’t trust “shortcut” apps
On the face of it, a ‘calculator’ application looks harmless. But believe it or not, many teens are using boring tabs such as these to disguise adult-themed content. As you can see in the below video, the iPhone allows you to create shortcuts for apps and then change the front image to whatever you want, so it looks like something else. Therefore, what you think might be a button for the weather sat on the home screen, could be TikTok or another application you’ve banned. To stop this from happening, make sure to regularly check through your child’s list of shortcuts to see if they’ve been up to any mischief.
6. Check for hidden photos
Does your child have an iPhone using IOS14? If the answer is yes, they could quite easily hide photos away from the main gallery view. There’s a quick way to find out: simply click on the album tab, scroll to the bottom, and select ‘hidden’. Now you’ll get to see if there’s any adult content lurking behind the scenes. To stop your child from concealing photos in the future, head to the phone’s settings and turn off the ‘hidden feature’ option.
7.Check for the orange dot
Those pesky kids have thought of everything, haven’t they? Now they’re even spying on their parents! Look out for the orange dot in the right-hand corner of your phone screen — this signifies that a recording session is live. Many teens are doing this to see what passcode parents enter (sneaky, right!). They’ve even gone so far as altering the screen colours, so it’s harder to see the orange dot. A quick check of the colour settings after handing your phone to a young person should prevent anything untoward from happening.
you cant see the tint in the screen recording but you get the point✌🏻♬ GOODMORNINGTOKYO! - Tokyo's Revenge
8. Don’t be a dummy
Not content with spying on their parent’s passwords, there have been cases of kids buying dummy phones as a way to circumnavigate confiscations. One of the biggest hotbeds for such antics is eBay. So, next time they hand over their handset, just make sure it’s the real deal. It might also be worth checking bank statements for any miscellaneous purchases…
9. Turn off ‘Live Listen’
If you’ve got a pair of Airpods lying about the house, make sure to turn off the ‘Live Listen’ setting. This feature allows kids to eavesdrop on conversations from different rooms by listening through Airpods. To stop this from happening, access your Control Centre in ‘Settings’ and tap the hearing icon. Here you’ll find the option to turn off Live Listen.
10. Turn location settings ‘on’
If you’re worried about your child’s whereabouts, put your mind at ease with ‘Significant Locations.’ Whether they’re just popping to the shops or hanging out with friends, you can activate settings that show you their last ‘live’ location. All you need to do is access their phone beforehand and turn the relevant settings on. Beware, though, some teens have been guilty of setting up fake ‘live locations’ ready to send. The way around this is to check their ‘significant locations’, which shows you all the places they’ve recently visited.
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