TIKTOK is known as one of America's biggest video-sharing social media platforms.

In order for users to sign up for an account, they must be 13 years old or older.

Why is TikTok 13 plus?

In order for users to access all of TikTok's features they must be at least 13 years old.

This age restriction has to do with the company's privacy and safety guidelines to ensure that the content is appropriate to viewers.

While it is listed as 12+ in the app store, TikTok has said that it is so "caregivers can access the device-level Apple and Android controls built into your family’s devices."

There is a version of TikTok that can be used for those under 13 that includes additional safety and privacy features, however, it is typically unappealing to children.

In the 13 under section, kids have access to curated and clean videos but it will not allow them to comment on posts or upload their own videos.

Is TikTok safe for kids?

For years, the safety of social media platforms has drawn national attention as many believe these sites are not safe for children.

While TikTok is overall safe for children under the age of 18 with parental guidance, there are some things that parents should be aware about.

According to Parents.com, those things include:

  • Kids can be target by predators
  • It is easy for kids to encounter inappropriate content in their "For You," section because it runs on an algorithmically
  • There is a risk of causing younger children anxiety and mental health issues
  • Users can encounter cyberbullying

Back in 2020, TikTok was the subject of a national security review which showed that they were not obtaining parental consent properly, according to the New York Times.

Titania Jordan, chief parenting officer of parental-control app Bark, told the media outlet, "This is the largest civil penalty in a children's privacy case in history.

"The law requires companies to obtain parental consent to collect the data of kids under 13, and TikTok did not do so. They also failed to notify parents of exactly how they collected children's data or allow them to ask to have that data deleted."

As a result, the company was fined $5.7million for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which "imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information online from a child under 13 years of age."

In August of 2021, the app then rolled out new safety measures, including turning off notifications for those 13-15 after 9pm and adding a feature that prevents users under the age of 16 from having access to direct messages.

They also have features which allow parents to control what children view.

Who owns TikTok?

Because Facebook owns Instagram and Whatsapp, many believe that they also own TikTok, however, that is not the case.

TikTok is an international version of the Chinese site Douyin, which was released to the Chinese market in 2016.

It is owned by ByteDance which was founded by Chinese billionaire Zhang Yiming.

In 2020, former US President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok citing national security concerns.

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