Your 9-year-old probably already has friends who have TikTok accounts. The ubiquitous app is everywhere, and the short videos are attention-grabbing for the younger crowd. However, many parents are reluctant to let their young kids join.
Is TikTok safe for 9-year-olds? TikTok is probably not safe for 9-year-olds, and even TikTok doesn’t advise parents to let kids under the age of 13 join. Though it’s possible for young kids to access TikTok, the risks for problems are often too high for parents to want to take on and manage.
Every child’s maturity level is different, so there are a lot of things to consider before you decide what age your child should be to join TikTok. You need to consider the benefits and disadvantages of social media for kids this young.
TikTok and 9-Year-Olds – What To Know
Your kids tell you that all their friends are already on TikTok, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Nine-year-olds are well below the recommended age for TikTok users.
TikTok Age Restriction
Any person joining TikTok is supposed to be at least 13 years old. This is TikTok’s rule.
Does TikTok Verify Age?
Despite having guidelines for the age a person should be to join, TikTok does nothing to actually verify the age of users. That leaves it up to parents to ensure their kids don’t create an account before they are allowed.
TikTok for Under 13
Since TikTok does not verify the ages of its users, it’s possible for your child to create an account before they turn 13. This leaves them open to all the risks that come with using a social media account when they are too young.
If your children are young and do not understand how to navigate the internet safely, it’s easy for them to be manipulated by other users who may not have good intentions.
Even if they don’t mean anyone nefarious online, there is still the problem of your child consuming content that is not meant for them.
TikTok challenges present an issue for parents because kids don’t always understand the risks associated with social media challenges. This can put your child in danger.
TikTok for Younger Users: Is It Safe?
There is a version of TikTok that is curated for the under-13 crowd. However, since TikTok does not verify the age of users, it’s possible for your child to lie about their age and simply sign on as if they are older.
TikTok users who are between the ages of 13 and 15 will automatically be given a private account that requires approval on comments and followers. However, it is easy for kids to simply lie about their age and bypass this precaution.
If your child does put in their real age and allows TikTok to curate their content if they are under 13, it could be a safer experience for your child. Still, it’s not without risks.
Family Pairing TikTok
Family Pairing offers more control for parents who want to allow their kids to access TikTok. You can limit their time on the app, restrict what content they see, and control messaging functions with Family Pairing.
TikTok User Data
TikTok has a pretty bad rep when it comes to user data. Just like other social media platforms, TikTok collects data on its users. However, TikTok isn’t very upfront with what happens to that data, and this is a problem.
Your kid’s personal information as well as their online habits are stored with TikTok, and you don’t know how they are being used or where the information is going.
This is enough for many parents to have serious reservations about this social media platform.
Dangers of TikTok
TikTok, like all social media, is not innocuous. The dangers are real.
Predators can contact your child on social media. They can act like they are younger or duet with other videos to reach them.
Though Family Pairing and other precautions help make this less likely, you need to talk to your kids about internet safety. They should be old enough to know to come to you if anyone contacts them online.
TikTok challenges, unrealistic beauty standards, and a slew of other things will be in front of your child when they use TikTok.
Even if your child is reasonable and follows the rules, the pressure to acclimate to the TikTok environment is strong. It can cause trouble for many kids.
Even with the best protection in place, it’s likely your child will hear or see content on TikTok they are too young for.
Though TikTok can help your child feel connected to other people online, it can also cause anxiety. Bullying happens online, and kids may even get anxious about simply not getting as many likes on their content as they hoped they would.
It’s important to set limits when it comes to screen time, but it’s still easy for kids to get addicted to their social media apps.
The easy access gives a dopamine hit that is hard to resist, and this can be especially problematic for younger kids who are still working on impulse control.
How To Monitor Your Child on TikTok
The Family Pairing option is one of the best ways to control what happens on your child’s TikTok. You can also follow your child’s account so you can see what is being posted. However, you won’t be able to see everything your child views.
If your child is on a social media platform, especially if they are below the recommended age, you should have full access to the account to monitor comments, messaging, and other content.
Social Media Apps for 9-Year-Olds: Safest Options
In a world so full of potential dangers, it’s nice to know that there are some options that come with less risk for your child. Here’s a quick look at two choices that are considered safe for kids.
With moderators, limited hours of use, and a parent portal, Pop Jam offers a great way to introduce your kids to the world of social connecting online.
Edmodo offers an educational angle to social media introduction. It can be used by parents and educators, and it’s a safe way for kids to learn online.
Can You Change Your Age on TikTok?
You can no longer change your age on TikTok unless you call customer service and work it out with them. It’s not possible to change your age from your profile page.
Is Facebook Safe for Kids?
Facebook carries the same risks as any other social media platform and is not recommended for children under the age of 13. Even when kids are 13, they can still see adult content on Facebook, so parents need to monitor the account.
When to let your kids use social media is a personal decision. Keep in mind all the risks that come with letting your child access the online world and be sure to have a serious talk with your son or daughter about the potential dangers.
Kristy is the mother of four, including identical twins. With a background in education and research, she is constantly learning more about parenting and raising multiples. When she has spare time, she enjoys hiking into the woods with a great book to take a break.