The social media video platform TikTok has over 500 million users globally with increasing popularity among children.
However, NCOSE warns that lack of moderation and safety controls has led TikTok to become a “space for sexual grooming by abusers and sex traffickers.”
“These exploiters utilize TikTok to view minor users and either comment and or message these users directly, often requesting sexually explicit videos,” NCOSE Communications Director Jake Roberson said. “An advocacy group accurately called TikTok a ‘hunting ground for predators to abuse children.’ Forbes identified TikTok as a magnet for sexual predators.”
Roberson said that even though TikTok has recently increased certain security measures and launched an online safety campaign, it “continues to operate in such a way that fails to truly protect its users, minors in particular.”
Roberson cited findings from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which surveyed over 40,000 school children. The findings show that 25 percent of children had live-streamed with a stranger. One in 20 children were asked while live streaming or in the comments of a posted video to take their clothes off.
“We know that a significant amount of children are being contacted via popular live-streaming apps, such as TikTok, by abusers who are using them as a hunting ground,” a spokesperson for the NSPCC said in response to the study.