Market research claims TikTok use is dangerous; especially for minors
The market research organization SOMI warned that Dutch and European watchdogs need to step in immediately to ensure the safety of TikTok users.
According to SOMI, TikTok is not doing enough to prevent users under the age of 13 from using the app, the ANP reports. Child molesters have been reported to groom children via the social media platform.
The successor of musical.ly, TikTok, was released in 2018. The popularity of the Chinese app soon sky-rocketed. In 2020, the app had the most downloads worldwide. 850 million people are reported to have installed the app on their phone or tablet.
Many of the users are underage. “A recent study from the investigation bureau Multiscope shows that in the Netherlands 64 percent of users are underage," SOMI co-founder Cor Wijtvliet said to the news wire. In theory, users under the age of 16 have to get permission from their parents to access the app, however, that rule is easily bypassed, according to SOMI.
Privacy watchdogs in Italy first flagged the app after the death of a 10-year-old girl that occurred while she was attempting the ‘black-out challenge’ on TikTok. The goal of the challenge was to make yourself fall unconscious for as long as possible which the girl tried to by closing off her airways with a bathrobe belt. After the death of the girl, international outrage sparked debates on how to restrict social media use for minors.
“Along with the life-threatening challenges, TikTok is a paradise for child molesters”, said SOMI. “It is only a matter of time before the first serious case occurs in the Netherlands.”