TikTok is one of the most popular apps among young people in Germany. To ensure safer surfing, TikTok tries to limit certain functions through age-based account presets. This includes ensuring that people under 18 can neither send nor receive gifts. However, these security measures only take effect if users enter the correct age when creating their account. One look at the videos on TikTok is enough to see that this security measure is obviously very easy for children to circumvent. But how does sending gifts work?
Both when watching regular videos and live streams, there is the option to send gifts. To do this, users must first purchase "coins. This is the name of the currency on TikTok. With these coins, users can then buy a variety of gifts and send them to creators. These gifts are small symbols such as a gift box, a chick or a garden gnome (see image below). The price varies greatly and ranges from just under a cent to several hundred euros.
Recently, TikTok introduced the "Matches" feature. Here, two or four TikTokers challenge each other in a LIVE video. The goal is to get the most money from the viewers at the end. In order to achieve this, the participants put all their effort into animating. This can lead to viewers quickly spending more money than they had planned. Creators use a few tricks to encourage viewers to spend money. For example, they exploit group dynamics, try to elicit pity, or sell actions (such as participating in a challenge) for a certain number of gifts.
In order to be able to track whether their own child has already sent gifts unnoticed, parents can look in the profile settings. To do this, you need to open the profile, press the icon with the three lines and then click on "Settings and privacy". Click on "Credit" and then on "Recharge". In the top right corner you will find an icon that looks like a paper with the TikTok sign and below it the "Coin history". Click on "All types" and select "Gifts sent". Now you can see if any gifts have already been sent from the account.
The most important safety precaution for appropriate TikTok use is the correct age in the profile. This is because minors cannot use many of the function in the app. In addition to sending money gifts, for example, some comment functions are also disabled. This video from Handysektor helps with the privacy settings.
The safe settings are important, but do not provide complete protection. Therefore, also talk to children and young people about the following aspects:
- Determine how much money can be spent on digital items. Credit cards can be a good way to keep track of costs.
- Explain what tricks there are to encourage users to spend money. For example, watch TikTok videos and especially live streams together and talk about them afterwards.
- Consider together whether creators on TikTok can be supported in other ways. For example, with a Like or a nice comment.
Anyone who has purchased coins can make use of a 14-day right of return. The revocation is possible without giving reasons. TikTok offers an online form and a form for this purpose. Note: Only the purchase of coins via TikTok directly can be claimed here. Anyone who has purchased coins in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store must contact these services. Gifts purchased with coins are generally excluded from exchange.