TikTok breaks the charts

TikTok is rising in popularity, but with it comes danger, especially to younger kids according to some experts



NEW APP ALERT: This is the popular mobile app TikTok’s logo. The company Bytedance acquired the previously popular app “Musical.ly” and combined it with their new app TikTok.

TikTok is a short video sharing app that flew to the top of the charts on the app store. Being the most downloaded app, sitting at around 45 million downloads and with more than 100 million monthly active users around the world, it has garnered a lot of attention.

In TikTok’s case, however, not all press is positive press. The app has been in the spotlight for its less than adequate privacy game. Until recently, TikTok only had two privacy settings: completely public, or completely private, and no “friends-only setting” made parents and users alike upset and concerned. It is dangerous for children to post their personal information if they can’t control the privacy.

This created potential unseen consequences, as kids could easily reveal their identity without knowing in their videos. Without sufficient privacy settings, dangerous users could figure out another’s identity based on the content they upload.

Officer Darin Odier, an IMPD detective, speaks at schools every year and tells real stories of investigations and cases he has had to work on involving internet safety.

“We get dozens of investigations each year involving children and social media apps,” Odier said. “I think TikTok, like the other short form video apps, can be fun and entertaining, but like everything can be used by people with bad intentions.”

It’s important to know how to stay safe on apps such as TikTok, especially ones where personal information could be found easily.

“The best way to stay safe is to make good choices online and realize that one bad decision can have lifelong consequences,” Odier said.

Some content found on the app can be questionable to say the least, with terms such as “cringe” and “lame” being thrown around often to describe it. Being such a popular social media app, cyberbulling is prevalent as well.

“There’s good content and there’s bad content on [TikTok],” said sophomore Alex Balint. “There are a lot of kids under 13 on it—and a lot of swearing—so a lot of content is being reported as not appropriate for young kids even though they shouldn’t be on it in the first place.”

TikTok has a vast array of communities, but almost all of them have one thing in common: bullying. The comment section on just about any video will yield a superfluous amount of users making fun of the video and the creator.

“[TikTok] is a very meme place, but also a very mean place,” Balint said. “There’s a lot of bullying.”

There are users who genuinely enjoy TikTok, but the app’s notoriety turns away users from the app and also comes with potential hazards toward users. It’s important to know how to stay safe on social media apps like TikTok in order to avoid these potential dangers. Students can do this by monitoring their privacy settings, along with making sure personal information