TikTok changes settings for underage users

TikTok is by far one of the most popular apps among children and young people. The short video service is used daily or several times a week by a third of young people in Germany. Partly because TikTok is especially popular with young users, the app has long been criticized for its insecure default settings. Potential risks included violation of privacy rights and cyber-grooming. At the beginning of January 2021, TikTok announced that it would adjust the default settings according to age in the future. klicksafe summarizes what will change for underage users as a result.

Since January 2021, all accounts of people between 13 and 15 years old are automatically set to "private". This means that users in this age group can now decide for themselves who can follow them and who can view or comment on their videos. The comment function under the videos is deactivated in the default 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, which allow other users to use their own videos, are deactivated for the 13-15 age group. The same applies to the "Suggest your account to others" function. Videos from this age group can also no longer be downloaded. It is important here, however, that users should not be lulled into a false sense of security in this respect. Even if the platform's internal download function is deactivated, other users can still save videos without much effort with the help of external programs.

The accounts of people between the ages of 16 and 17 are also restricted in some functions. "Duet" and "Stitch" are available, but set to "Friends" in the default settings. Downloading of one's own videos by other user:s is disabled in the default settings. However, this function can be reactivated later.

All of the security measures described above are only effective if the correct date of birth was entered when registering the account.

What are the age restrictions on TikTok?

The music video network states in its terms of use that users must be at least 13 years old. Users under the age of 18 are allowed to use the service, but they need a declaration of consent from their legal guardians. TikTok does not check whether the information is correct or whether a declaration of consent is available.

Parents have the option of further restricting their child's accounts via the"accompanied mode".

Further information