TIKTOK says youngsters shouldn’t use its app – but has no way of actually verifying their ages.
Absolutely anyone can bypass TikTok’s “age check” in seconds, giving children access to an endless reel of inappropriate content.
One cyber-expert described avoiding TikTok’s safety checks as “child’s play” – and warned parents about the controversial app.
TikTok launched in 2017 and has quickly become one of the most popular apps among teens, used by hundreds of millions around the world.
But investigations have revealed the app plays host to deadly pranks, sexualised clips and has even harboured lots of paedos, which is why we launched TikTok Time Bomb – a series to raise awareness of the potential dangers on the app.
“Given reports of 53 percent of kids owning a mobile phone by age seven, parents should be very careful about the apps their kids use on them,” said Adam Brown, a cyber-security expert at Synopsys.
Now The Sun can reveal just how easy it is to skirt around TikTok’s age checks without a parent’s permission.
When you read TikTok’s terms and conditions, it expressly forbids minors from using the app without consent.
“If you are under age 18, you may only use the Services with the consent of your parent or legal guardian,” TikTok writes.
“Please be sure your parent or legal guardian has reviewed and discussed these Terms with you.”
And later on in the terms, TikTok adds that the app “is only for people 13 years old and over”.
But TikTok does little to prevent youngsters skirting these rules.
TikTok time bomb
- TikTok has spread like digital wildfire, snapping up over 1.5 billion users since its global launch three years ago — including millions in the UK.
- On the surface, the world’s fastest growing social media platform shows short clips of lip-syncing to songs or showing off dance moves but there’s a far more sinister side.
- It’s become a magnet for paedophiles as well as a hotbed for violent and extremist content, with TikTok predators exploiting the platform’s young user base and lax security to prey on the vulnerable.
- We’ve seen kids as young as eight being groomed on TikTok, while other creeps take advantage of young girls posting sexualised content of themselves on the platform.
- And that’s especially worrying on a site which is attracting millions more children every year, with 53 per cent of kids now owning a smartphone by the age of seven.
- That’s why we launched our TikTok Time Bomb series — to make sure parents are aware of the risks their kids are being exposed to, and what they can do to better protect them.
- Everyone agrees social media can be a force for good, but it has to be used the right way and with proper controls in place.
- We want TikTok to better moderate its content so that it’s not being left to kids to protect themselves online.
Anyone can download the app from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.
Once you’re in, you can sign up with any email address – even a fake one, as you don’t need to verify it.
The app asks for your age using a scroll wheel, but there’s nothing to stop a child choosing a fake date of birth.
Then you choose a password and you’re immediately shown a reel of content, much of which may be inappropriate for minors.