Nearly 40 percent of all TikTok users are between the ages of 14 and 24. As a social media platform, TikTok poses its share of potential dangers and risks, especially to minors, which is why their usage of it should be monitored. Unfortunately, when it comes to matters of divorce, parents don’t always agree on what their child should and should not be allowed to do. If your ex has let your child download and use TikTok during their visitation and you want to prevent it from happening again, there are a few things you can do.
Potential Risks of TikTok
Since its inception, TikTok has grown into a highly popular social media platform where people can watch – and create – short-form videos on virtually any topic. Despite this, there are some issues with the platform, particularly concerning some of the content and the app’s privacy.
Although most TikTok videos are lighthearted and humorous, there’s also a good deal of potentially harmful or inappropriate content on the platform, such as profanities and suggestive material. Not only that but there have been various security and privacy concerns related to data mining, storage and selling. Because of the potential dangers of using TikTok, it’s no surprise that many parents are wary of letting their child download and use the platform.
How to Stop Your Child from Downloading TikTok
Available on every mobile device, TikTok is free and designed to be extremely user-friendly. Short of taking away your child’s phone entirely, here’s what you can do to stop them from downloading apps you don’t want them to have.
Change Your Child’s Device Settings
On Apple and Android devices, you can restrict or block specific apps or explicit content on your child’s device. To set this up on Apple devices, go to the Settings > Screen Time > Continue. Follow the prompts to set up Screen Time permissions for your child. To prevent them from changing the settings when you’re not around, create a secure passcode and turn on Content & Privacy. You can also keep your child from making in-app purchases, downloading or deleting apps, or accessing content that’s inappropriate for their age this way.
Android devices have a similar option under Parental Controls (sometimes called Digital Wellbeing and Parent Controls). Here, you can place screen time restrictions, track your child’s usage of certain apps and more. Simply follow the prompts and create a pin your child can’t guess.
Communicate with Your Child
Although making changes to the Settings of their mobile device will effectively prevent your child from downloading TikTok in the future, there are other effective ways to keep them safe online.
Start by talking to your child about the dangers of using TikTok or oversharing data. A little communication and understanding go a long way, especially if your child is struggling because of the divorce.
Children with divorced parents are prone to try to take advantage of one parent’s leniency during visitation. When speaking with your child, try to get on their level to help them understand where you’re coming from. Use a calm, collected tone and avoid making sudden decisions for them or going to extremes. This will help you both come to an agreement.
If you decide to let your child keep their TikTok account, ask them to set it to Private so only certain users can view their information. You can also restrict things like who can find your child’s account and who can send direct messages to them to improve overall privacy.
Speak with Your Ex
Aside from speaking with your child, talk to your ex about the situation. Depending on how amicable the two of you are, you may be able to compromise about your child’s usage of their phone during visitation. If your ex-spouse gifted your child with a phone without your permission, communicating can help you find a compromise as well. Try not to overreact or take away the phone.
Although it can be tricky to make compromises both parties can live with, especially during a contested divorce, you don’t want to risk alienating your child or causing more conflict during such a difficult transitionary period. If your ex is the problem (and is unwilling to compromise in such a way that you feel that your child’s welfare is being endangered) then you can always talk to your local divorce lawyer. Even if you got a simple online divorce and did it all by agreement, you can still take them back to court if you feel it’s in the best interest of the child to do so.
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