What is TikTok's biggest disadvantage

Age-based presetting of accounts

As of January 2021, all accounts are from People between 13 and 15 years of age automatically set to "private". That means, users: women in this age group can now decide for themselves who can follow them and who can watch or comment on their videos. The comment function under the videos is deactivated in the standard settings and can only be used by "friends" after changing the basic settings. Strangers can no longer comment on videos of 13-15 year olds. The "Duet" and "Stitch" functions as well as the "Propose your account to others" function are deactivated for the age group 13-15. Videos from this age group can also no longer be downloaded. It is important here, however, that users should not lull themselves into a false sense of security. Because even if the platform-internal download function is deactivated, other users can still save videos with the help of special programs.

The accounts of People between 16 and 17 years of age are restricted in some functions. "Duet" and "Stitch" are available, but set to "Friends" in the default settings. The downloading of your own videos by other users is deactivated in the basic settings. However, this function can be reactivated later.

All of the safety precautions described above are only effective if the correct date of birth was given when registering the account. TikTok does not check whether the information is correct.

The "accompanied mode" enables parents to protect their child from being contacted by strangers.

No effective minimum age control

Officially, TikTok is allowed to from 13 years be used. According to the terms and conditions, under 18-year-olds require a declaration of consent from their parents. In practice, however, the specified minimum age and parental consent are not effectively checked. This means that even younger children can easily download and use the app if they enter the wrong age.

  • According to reports from jugendschutz.net and mobilprüf.de, eight-year-olds are already using TikTok.
  • tip: For TikTok, the USK approval from 12 years is available in the App Store. This gives parents the option of preventing the app from being downloaded by using the Parental control settings in the stores or Use device-based parental controls.

Since the beginning of 2021, accounts of people under the age of 16 have been automatically set to "private". This makes contact initiation by strangers (so-called cyber grooming) much more difficult. However, this protective mechanism is only effective if the correct date of birth was given during registration.

While the TikTok app can be downloaded and used free of charge, users can support their "idols" in livestreams with monetary gifts and thus draw attention to themselves. The "coins" for the monetary gifts are processed with real amounts of money via the app stores, PaySafeCards or the mobile phone bill. The most expensive packages currently contain 10,000 coins and cost over € 100. To avoid cost traps, parents should deactivate in-app purchases by making the appropriate settings on their smartphone.

As pleasant as the confirmation on TikTok can be, negative comments or slurs can be hurtful. Particularly drastic: Videos are also distributed outside of the service for bullying purposes and the protagonists are exposed. Under the #peinlich you can find, for example, cuts of embarrassing TikTok videos and hurtful comments by YouTubers and their subscribers on YouTube (source: jugendschutz.net).

Content harmful to minors

According to research by jugendschutz.net, right-wing extremist and Islamist content is distributed via TikTok as well as videos that glorify self-harm.

Users often do not know that the videos they have created - despite their own creative efforts - are not exclusively their work. Songs available on TikTok are only licensed for the TikTok platform and can be used to create videos on the platform. If copyright-protected music is used in videos and these videos are distributed more widely in other services (e.g. Instagram, YouTube), there is a risk of warnings. As soon as other people can be seen in the video, the right to one's own picture must also be observed.