What parents need to now about TikTok (and why your kids love it)
The Chinese app TikTok surpassed 1.5 billion downloads.
It has been around since 2012, but only launched outside of China in 2017 when they bought Musical.ly.
It's a short-form, video-sharing app for 15-second videos where users can create and upload their own videos where they lip-synch, sing, dance, or just talk.
Most popular among the younger generation, it has exploded among teens and children even younger.
Refilwe Moloto chats to Business Insider journalist Andrew Thompson about the app's enormous popularity in South Africa and what parents need to know in order to protect their children.
It only officially launched in South Africa in 2018 and almost instantly hit that same meteoric explosion amongst that market.Andrew Thompson, Journalist - Business Insider SA
Thompson says it is difficult to officially establish just how popular the platform is in South Africa but tracking local hashtags such as #tiktoksouthafrica and #southafrica offered some insights, showing a combined 7,000 videos and 350,000 fans.
Videos categorised with the hashtag tiktoksouthafrica already have in excess of 400 million views, he says.
Most videos and users tracked are magicians and pranksters and teens lip-syncing or doing skits.
It's lip-syncing videos in bedrooms and short skits and a lot of them are falling into very small fan brackets, but a few have made it into the global top 1%.Andrew Thompson, Journalist - Business Insider SA
Like all social media platforms if you don't lock it down and check your privacy settings there is a good chance that your videos could fall into the wrong hands and I think there is every reason to be concerned and to educate yourself as much as you can.Andrew Thompson, Journalist - Business Insider SA
A lot of the videos are strangely bedroom-based and from young teens. And the other aspect is this rise of challenges.Andrew Thompson, Journalist - Business Insider SA
The first aspect does pose a danger to intimate teen videos getting into the wrong hands. The 'challenge' aspect also comes with inherent dangers such as the recent life-threatening skull-breaker challenge.
Educate yourself and your children and check the privacy settings, and make sure children understand the consequences of the more dangerous challenges.
If you have kids who use it, download it and familiarise yourself with it at every level.Andrew Thompson, Journalist - Business Insider SA
Listen to the interview below with tips for parents:
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