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TikTok rolls out new online safety advice for parents

By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

TikTok is to offer advice to parents and caregivers on how to support their teenagers when they join and use the service by offering tips created by online safety experts.

The social media platform has worked with the online youth safety group Internet Matters to create the new resources, which will appear to users of TikTok’s Family Pairing feature.

Family Pairing allows parents to link their child’s TikTok account to their own and take more control over what their child sees on the platform.

Now, Family Pairing users will see a new notification that will prompt them to find out more about online safety and how to approach conversations about digital literacy and safety.

TikTok has introduced a number of new online safety tools aimed at teenage users and their parents in recent months, including enhancing parental controls and turning off access to private messaging by default for younger users.

The range of updates has come ahead of Thursday’s compliance deadline for the Age Appropriate Design Code, a new set of rules from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that require tech firms to set higher standards of protection for younger users.

Other platforms including Google and Instagram have also introduced new safety measures for younger users.

Alexandra Evans, TikTok’s head of child safety public policy in Europe, said the firm’s latest update was about making it easier for parents and their children to discuss online safety.

“At TikTok, we’re committed to working in partnership with parents and guardians as they support their teen’s digital journey. We recognise that for caregivers, it can feel overwhelming trying to keep up with evolving trends or new platforms, and talking about online safety with their teens can seem daunting,” she said.

“We also hear from teens that they want their voices to be heard and listened to. We want to help simplify things by offering caregivers insight on the support teens really value from the trusted adults in their lives – and who better to advise on what they need than teens themselves?”

Internet Matters’ chief executive Carolyn Bunting said involving young people in conversations about internet safety was “key to understanding the challenges and opportunities they experience online”.

“It’s encouraging to see TikTok taking a positive step by supporting meaningful conversations among families to help them use tech safely,” she said.

“While we welcome this new initiative, the work to create a safe environment for children and young people to be online is only just beginning and there is more that needs to be done across the whole industry.

“In the meantime, we urge parents to have regular open conversations with their children about their digital life as they build their online presence. These tips from teens are a good way to start.”

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