TikTok is perpetuating significant harm to the welfare and wellbeing of young children.
Yesterday, it was announced by the UK’s data protection authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), that they were handing down a fine of £12,700,000 to TikTok for significant breaches of data protection law. This is one of the largest fines to have ever been imposed by the body.
Having conducted a thorough investigation into TikTok, the ICO found that, in 2020, up to 1.4 million UK children under the age of 13 were accessing and using its platform. This is even though it is contrary to TikTok’s own terms of service.
The ICO found that personal data belonging to these children was used without parental consent. They also found that TikTok failed to adequately check who was using their platform and take sufficient action to remove underage children, even though they should have been aware that this was taking place.
Some may think that this is a dry, legal issue; only of concern to those who work in the field of data protection.
In reality, this could not be further from the truth. The impact of TikTok’s breaches on children is seismic.
As the Information Commissioner, John Edwards, has said:
“When you sign up, you can be targeted for advertising, you can be profiled, your data contributes to an algorithm which feeds content”.
This means that people who use TikTok can find themselves in position in which their data is being tracked and then used. Depending on what content they have been watching, they will continue to be exposed to the same type of content going forward, often without consciously being aware of this.
This is a well-known phenomenon in the world of data and most adults understand to some extent that this is taking place when they use social media. Some even welcome it, as it means they will receive the type of content that is most relevant to them.
However, when it comes to child safeguarding, the terrain could not be more different. What we are dealing with when it comes to children is the potentially harmful content they are being exposed to and their capacity to understand the implications of what is happening to them and their data.
“If you’ve been looking at content which is not appropriate for your age, that can be more and more extreme, said John Edwards.
This very clearly illustrates the slippery slope that children can find themselves on when using platforms, such as TikTok.
Edwards goes on to state emphatically that: “it can be quite harmful for people who are not old enough to fully appreciate the implications and to make appropriate choices”.
Here are just some examples of videos that children under the age of 13 will have been exposed to on TikTok over recent times:
· Young people flashing their double mastectomy scars
· Activists blaming the recent Nashville shooting on government legislation
· Young people self-identifying as animals
· Teachers boasting about offering students breast binders at school
· Statements that “all white people are racist”
· Sexualised drag performances in front of babies
· Activists telling children that puberty blockers are 100% reversible and completely safe
· Teachers hiding the fact that children are being socially transitioned at school from their parents
· Activists telling trans people to “resist”, “fight”, “hurt” and “carry a weapon at all times”
· Teachers telling young children that they can be born in the wrong body
· Grown men telling children that some women have a penis, and some men have a vagina
· A teacher organising an activity for black history month by making white students pretend to be black students’ servants
· Teaching children that biological men have periods
· Teaching children how to use xe/xem pronouns
· Trans people talking about “cutting my titties off”
· Parents talking about knowing their 2-year-old boy was trans because he enjoyed wearing dresses
· Activists selling underwear packers to young girls
This content is clearly inappropriate and harmful to children of any age. The fact that there are children aged 13 and under exposed to this material is beyond terrifying.
The few examples above only scratch the surface. Given that statistics show that over 1 billion videos get watched every day on TikTok and that the average user spends 95 minutes each day on platform, we can only begin to imagine the horrors of what TikTok is doing to our children’s brain development.
TikTok have enabled children to be exposed to content that they should never have been allowed to watch in the first place. Hopefully, the Online Safety Bill, which is due to be passed over the coming months, will introduce strict age verification processes for social media companies.
Parents too need to play a more active role in checking what platforms their children are using. While much of TikTok’s content may be silly and harmless videos of singing and dancing, what lurks down the slippery slope is danger.
However, the most terrifying thing of all is that TikTok only presents us with a snapshot of people’s lives and inner world. Even if TikTok ceases to exist, there will still be teachers pushing gender ideology in schools. There will still be activists telling white children that they are inherently racist. There will still be sexualised drag shows performed up and down the country.
If the content of TikTok even remotely resembles the reality of the modern world, I fear for the future of humanity.
I was just contacted by a young adult woman in Scandinavia to tell her harrowing tale of abuse from a narcissistic, violent autogynophile. We have no method of determining which of these psychiatrically ill men are going to be violent. In an indoctrinated environment, sex crimes go unreported. The ability to report child sexual abuse, pornography involving children and actual sexual assault by a man claiming female identity. Please watch this 15 minutes of the read through of part 1, Hilda's story.