As we approach Youth Day on 16 June, many young South Africans are likely to jump onto their social apps to commemorate what this important day means to them. While doing so, it’s important that they remember to take the necessary safety precautions to ensure a positive online experience. TikTok, specifically, is encouraging its own community to brush up on their in-app safety knowledge as well as update their settings where necessary.
This is according to Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, TikTok’s Head of Public Policy in Africa, who says that promoting a safe and positive app environment is a top priority for TikTok and, as such, the platform is committed to continuously educating users on its safety tools as well as supporting them with any safety-related issues that may arise.
“TikTok is all about having fun and sharing lighthearted moments with friends or others around the world. In order to foster a space where creativity can thrive, the platform has been designed to safeguard the wellbeing of everyone in its community through various in-app safety features. We are always looking for ways to improve our current safety features and are continuously introducing new ones to help users feel comfortable.”
Ahead of Youth Day, Mgwili-Sibanda shares some easy safety tips for users to take when using TikTok.
1. Act and speak out!
· If there is something on the platform that you don’t like, and which goes against TikTok’s Community Guidelines, report it immediately.
· The block feature also allows you to cut off any negative users from your account so there’s more time for you to create cool content.
2. Control and limit interactions
· When your account is set to private, you will be able to approve another user before they can follow your account and see your content.
· You can choose who can find your account, duet with you, respond to your videos, and send you private messages.
· You can decide who you want commenting or stitching your videos.
· If you are in ages 16-17, the default setting for Duet and Stitch is now set to Friends (only those people you have approved to follow you) only.
· For users aged 13-15, this feature has been tightened even more on their videos. These users can now choose between Friends or No One for their account; the Everyone comment setting has been completely removed.
- Encourage families to get involved
· The new bullying prevention guide has been introduced to help families learn how to identify bullying as well as tools to counter bullying and provide help to bullying victims or bystanders.
· The platform also has Family Pairing, a functionality that allows a parent to link their TikTok account to their teens, offering features such as Screen Time Management, Restricted Mode, and Direct Message controls to provide parents with insight and control over how their teens use TikTok. These features are also available for users outside of family pairing.
In addition to the above features, TikTok also has a number of resources for families who want to learn more about online safety, including its Youth Portal, Guardian’s Guide, educational safety videos and more. TikTok remains committed to the safety of its community – especially the youth – and will continue to develop resources, tools, and policies as it aims for the highest level of safety.