Children As Young As Eight Are Being Groomed By Paedophiles Through The ‘Tik Tok’ App
A new report has revealed that children as young as eight years old are being groomed by sexual predators through the Tik Tok live streaming app.
According to Barnardos, the UK’s leading children’s charity, Tik Tok and Live.ly are putting young children at serious risk of grooming and sexual abuse online.
It had previously been thought that the youngest children to phone up the charity for help with online grooming via the app had been around ten years old.
However, eight-year-olds are now being exposed to sexual predators via the comments function attached to the live videos.
A primary school in Cornwall spoke to the Mirror about the dangers of Tik Tok and had this to say: “Parents of children in Year 3 to Year 6 have been horrified by what children are exposed to.”
Meanwhile, a group of parents in Hounslow, London were warned about the trending hashtag #tradefortrade – which communicates to other users that the individual in question wants to trade illicit sexual content.[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″]
Perhaps even more worrying for parents, Tik Tok also has a direct message function alongside its live-streaming capabilities and public comments.
A school in North Yorkshire recently warned: “If the profile is open, strangers can comment on your child’s videos.
“While this isn’t always sinister, it lets potential predators contact your child.”
Last year a YouGov survey organised by Barnardos revealed that half of all 12-year-olds and more than 1 in 4 children aged 10 had live streamed their own content over the internet using apps that were designed for teenagers over the age of 13.
Almost a quarter of all children aged 10-16 said they or a friend had later regretted the content they had posted.
Javed Khan is the Chief Executive of Barnardos and he recently released a statement on the dangers of grooming via online streaming apps: “When we think of young people who have been sexually exploited, a stereotypically ‘vulnerable’ child may come to mind; someone in the care system, who doesn’t have a reliable support network or who is disengaged with education.
“But the fact is that any child can become the victim of sexual exploitation or abuse, even children in loving, stable families.
“Without the right security settings, children broadcasting live video of themselves over the internet could be targeted by abusers in their bedrooms.
“It’s vital that parents get to know and understand the technology their children are using and make sure they have appropriate security settings in place. They should also talk to their children about sex and relationships and the possible risks and dangers online so children feel able to confide in them if something doesn’t feel right.
“We are also calling for a legal duty on technology companies to prevent children being harmed online.”
The charity has also warned of the dangers of so-called ‘sophisticated groomers’ who contact children using the apps’ live comment functions. This communication coerces the children into engaging in sexual behaviour.
The charity even uncovered a case in which a 14-year-old had joined up to a dating service for adults and sent explicit pictures to users who had ‘targeted’ the young girl online.
The incident led the teenager to meet up with someone she had met online and engage in underage sex.
What is Tik Tok?
Tik Tok is a Chinese social media app. Users can create short videos and music videos, as well as live stream content.
The app’s tagline reads ‘Make every second count’. Apparently Tik Tok was the fourth most-downloaded app in the world in 2018 – ahead of social media giants such as Instagram and Snapchat.
Most young people use the app to film themselves lip-syncing to current chart hits. The app has headquarters in Beijing and currently boasts over 500 million active users. The company is worth over $75 billion (£58 billion).