TikTok is a hunting ground for paedophiles

TikTok is not safe for young children

By Huzraifah Atikah

TikTok is a popular short video app that is widely used by young children worldwide. 

It seems young children like this app as it allows users to easily create a unique 15 second video like dancing, comedy or freestyle based on their own creativity. 

TikTok also ranks highly in top mobile apps by download charts on both iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

On July 2018, TikTok global monthly users have hit 500 million.

It had accumulated more than 300 million users from mainland China, while more than 100 million users are from other countries. 

The highest TikTok users out of China is India with 36 million, followed by Indonesia with 17 million, USA (16 million), Thailand (9 million), Japan (8.5 million). Malaysia has 4 million users. 

TikTok is considered fun for young children because not only they can post videos, they can also easily interact with anyone through the comment section or direct messaging on the app.

However, parents who let their young children use TikTok should keep in mind that there is no guarantee that this app is safe for them especially from paedophiles.

Apparently paedophiles are actively using TikTok to sexually abuse children online by sending inappropriate contents through photos, videos and comments. 

It seems like TikTok has been one of the online tools for paedophiles to use as a ‘hunting ground’ for victims.  

These sexual predators would strategically approach their victims by sending inappropriate comments about their bodies and also teach them to engage in sexual conversation through direct messaging and also sending nude pictures.

Last Wednesday, its was reported that a father of a 10-year-old boy was horrified when he saw messages from a stranger to his son on the TikTok app. 

“His phone kept flashing up like someone had messaged. I kept seeing this same man’s name coming up and the messages he received said ‘hello are you there?’, ‘stop f***ing ignoring me’, then he said ‘I will find you’, ‘where are you?’

The man did not know if it was the first time his son received such messages but has since deleted the app from the phone and alerted his son’s school on the dangers of TikTok.

A 50-year-old woman also revealed that her 10-year-old granddaughter was being groomed on TikTok.

According to the police, the girl had entered into a private chat with a Canadian paedophile who claimed to know her. 

"He threatened to come to her house and take her if she didn't do certain things. What appears to be an innocent site where she's making music videos and sending them to her friends is a site with nasty people," she added.

TikTok only allows users two settings when posting, which is the for videos to be completely private (meaning restricted to the creator’s viewing only) or for clips to be entirely open to the public.

According to reports, these predators are not only sending their victims nude photos but would also in return ask for nudes as well.

There have been similar cases in the Australia and the US.

John Carr, one of the UK’s leading experts on child online safety, said: “There’s no question an app like this is a magnet for paedophiles.” The French vlogger Le Roi des Rats said predators do not hide at all.

“When a young girl dances in skimpy clothes or imitates sexy dances, you’re sure to find people in the comments giving compliment with the intention of grooming them or direct message them to ask for nude pictures.”

Here are some of the examples of inappropriate comments:

Parents are advised to not let their young children use TikTok because children may not understand the dangers that they could encounter through the app.

Parents should always monitor their children’s phones to make sure they are not being sexually abused online. 

After all, posting videos on TikTok is like posting it to the whole world.

But if you think TikTok is safe for young children, watch this video: