So from 30 April TikTok are
revoking Under 16’s ability to send or receive private messages, ie
direct message others they follow and who follow them, on their platform.
They can still post publicly.
This means a very significant number of users, probably in the millions, will
no longer be able to message privately.
On the surface this looks
like a cause for celebration for parents, practitioners and carers. But I would postpone the party for a
while. In order for this to have much
meaning, there needs to be significant work done on age verification on TikTok
and all platforms where children and young people socialise.
Here’s what’s likely to happen
on TikTok or any such platform now where robust age verification systems are
not in place.
Kids will set up a new
account with a fake age and off they go.
Meanwhile parents will have
seen have headlines, believe that their children are safer on these platforms
and relax their grip on things more.
In 2019 TikTok was the most
downloaded app after Whatsapp and Facebook. We all know ‘oldies’ 😊use Whatsapp and Facebook and kids don’t want to be on
there, so basically TikTok and Snapchat, as we all know are the platforms of
choice for children and young people and this hasn’t changed in 2020.
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