Paedophiles Are Using TikTok To Hunt For Victims. Here's How
Popular social media application TikTok has recently come under fire after parents discovered predatory messages sent to their children by paedophiles
Previously known as musical.ly, TikTok is a Chinese-owned social media application which allows users to create and upload short videos of themselves accompanied with effects.
According to a report by Mirror on 23 February, the app is exposing children to sexually explicit content and glorification of self-harm.
The Sun reported that apart from crude comments under videos involving children on TikTok, parents have revealed the predatory messages their children receive from older men through the app.
Predators have reportedly sent threatening and sexually explicit messages to children in attempts to groom them
A father told The Sun that his son had been receiving threatening messages from an older man on the app.
"His phone kept flashing up like someone had messaged. I kept seeing this same man's name coming up," the 38-year-old father was quoted as saying by The Sun.
Other messages include, "Hello are you there?", "Stop f**king ignoring me", and "I will find you".
The man has since deleted the app from his son's phone, and alerted his school on the dangers of TikTok.
A 50-year-old woman also revealed that her 10-year-old granddaughter was being groomed on TikTok.
"My granddaughter had been on the site for three days (before) my daughter got a visit from the police asking if she was alright," the grandmother was quoted as saying by The Sun.
According to the police, the 10-year-old had entered a private chat with a Canadian paedophile who claimed to have known 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.
Disturbing comments have also been found under TikTok videos involving children
Mirror reported that commenters have urged a teenage girl to take off her clothes under a video of her dancing.
Another video of a boy exposing his ribs was tagged under #thinspo, a hashtag which was said to be glorifying eating disorders.
Other videos have also been found with sexually taunting comments under them:
TikTok, which is rated 12+ on app stores, has since admitted that it could not prevent users from lying about their age
The app, which requires users to be at least 13 years old, does not ask for any form of proof.
The Sun reported a TikTok spokesperson as saying that the age rating aims to allow parents to block it on their children's phones through parental controls.
"We have a number of protective measures in place and are committed to enhancing them. We remove content and terminate accounts that violate our guidelines," TikTok said, according to Mirror.