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TikTok to ban direct messages for under-16s

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. 

Image Credit TikTok

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.

Work is being done out there on age verification with companies such as Yoti with their partnership with Yubo

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Wayne Denner shares his knowledge & expertise on leading tech industry blog.

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