Group calls on TikTok to add ‘mirror’ feature for parents to see kids’ feeds

More than 12,000 mother and father have signed on to an open letter asking TikTok to introduce a brand new characteristic that might enable mother and father to see what their little one sees on the favored social media platform.

A petition from the advocacy group ParentsTogether asks TikTok CEO Vanessa Pappas to introduce a “mirror” setting for folks to maintain tabs on what their children are viewing. The short-form video app is extensively utilized by teenagers and pre-teens within the U.S. and overseas.

“TikTok ought to enable mother and father to see mirror accounts for his or her minor little one. That would enable mother and father to intervene in harmful conditions and discuss to their children about dangerous content material, like excessive weight-reduction plan or white supremacist materials,” the group stated. 

The name comes after a 12-year-old boy in Oklahoma died after being discovered unresponsive with ligature marks round his neck. Police stated he was believed to have been collaborating in a development circulating on TikTok, known as the “blackout problem,” by which customers choke themselves till they lose consciousness, based on FOX 25. 

Authorities warned mother and father to remain concerned of their little one’s social media use. 

“Now greater than ever because of the lockdowns, children are bored and trying to occupy their time.” the Bethany Police Department in Oklahoma stated in an announcement. “Social media is a really influential half of a kid’s life and must be closely scrutinized by mother and father.”

FILE – The TikTok app brand on the App Store is seen with the TikTok brand displayed within the background on this illustration picture taken in Krakow, Poland, on July 18, 2021. (Photo Ilustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto by way of Getty Images)

ParentsTogether stated TikTok’s “impenetrable algorithm” used to suggest content material to customers makes it troublesome for folks to maintain tabs on who and what their children interact with on the app. It stated the “lack of transparency” can result in children being uncovered to “bullying, sexual predators, and dangerous content material starting from pro-eating dysfunction movies to movies encouraging extremism and violence.”

The group famous a current ballot from Accountable Tech, which discovered that 81% of oldsters say Big Tech corporations like TikTok have to do extra to guard youngsters.

“TikTok should do the work to maintain the youngsters who make them billions of {dollars} protected,” stated Justin Ruben, Co-Director of ParentsTogether. “That contains regulating and eradicating content material that they deem dangerous or violent to children, and serving to mother and father monitor the customarily harmful content material their children are seeing.”

TikTok, which is meant for customers 13 and up, affords plenty of assets to help households, together with educational safety videos and parent guides. In April 2020, the corporate introduced a feature called Family Pairing, which permits mother and father to hyperlink their TikTok account to their little one’s account and set controls on display screen time, direct messages and restricted content material.

This month, the corporate also launched tools in the U.S. and Canada that higher determine and take away violative content material and notify individuals of their violations.

TikTok didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. But in a statement to NPR, the corporate stated defending minors “is critically essential.”

“TikTok takes the protection of our group very critically,” the assertion reads partially. “We strictly prohibit harmful challenges on TikTok, and whereas we’ve not but discovered proof of a ‘blackout problem’, we stay alert and able to act in opposition to any violative content material posted.”

This story was reported from Cincinnati. 

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