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Social media can put young people in danger – safety measures are a must

Tiktok aims to create a thriving community while maintaining creativity through its privacy settings suite

Social media can put young people in danger – safety measures are a must
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Teens on social media is a problem many parents have lost sleep over, they can present a real risk to mental health of children and teenagers, if online safeguards are not in place. At the same time, parents, educators, and the community need to work together with a shared responsibility to protect them as they navigate the online world. 

To address these concerns, TikTok MENA recently organized a panel discussion focused on digital safety and fostering a thriving community while maintaining creativity. The panel included Kevin Morgan, Head of Trust and Safety at TikTok Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Hanan Ezzeldin from The Family Hub, an expert in parenting, education, and positive discipline. Previously, TikTok unveiled a suite of privacy settings, specifically targeting teenage users. These changes have been implemented to enhance the default privacy settings for all users under the age of 18.

Morgan emphasized TikTok’s commitment to prioritizing safety. “Safety is a never-ending job. We are fully committed to creating a safer environment for our community,” he said. “The highest priority in the digital world should be safeguarding its younger users and empowering creators to express themselves authentically.”

Elaborating further on the platform’s efforts to create a safer environment, he explained the platform is constantly improving its content classification methods, considering global and local perspectives for different age groups.

“We understand that certain content may not be suitable for everyone, so our Content Levels and new algorithm features are designed to reduce the likelihood of teenagers being exposed to inappropriate content. We work closely with members of the Safety Advisory Council to address challenges and ensure that the content is appropriate for users in the MENA region.”

In general, some spaces on the internet are more private. “Even features like live streaming spaces are restricted, as they require a higher level of maturity to handle critical comments. We also limit whether a video goes live to the public or remains visible only to friends. We intend for users to test things out within their friend groups first,” he added.

In addition to these measures, TikTok has default screen time settings for specific age limits, such as below 16, and sends prompts to users when they reach their allotted time. The platform recognizes the importance of balancing online activities and aims to discourage excessive screen time.

Morgan also mentioned TikTok’s significant investment in addressing climate impact and misinformation. By actively combating these issues, the platform aims to create a safer and more reliable digital space for all users.

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