TikTok Mena enlisted former Lebanese professional basketball player Fadi Al-Khatib and Egyptian beauty blogger Lugina Salah to produce a series of Arabic tutorials aimed at helping parents keep their children safe on the app.
The #SaferForYou videos walk parents through the Family Safety Mode feature, which allows parents to monitor, control and restrict their children’s direct messages and set limits on the types of content they see. And using a new feature revealed in June, they can set time limits too.
“It is important to communicate with the children and explain to them about this feature in detail,” explained Fadi – nicknamed “The Lebanese Tiger”– in his video.
According to data compiled by media analytics firm Comscore from the US and released in September 2021, an estimated 30 percent of TikTok’s 1.1 billion users are under 18. And according to data released in summer 2022 and compiled by the parental control software maker Qustodio’s analysis of 400,000 families, kids and teens were watching an average of 91 minutes ofTikTok per day by the end of 2021 – surpassing 56 minutes per day spent watching YouTube.
Lugina, who has a daughter, knows how time-consuming TikTok can be from her own use making videos for half a million followers.
“It is important that you talk to your children about the feature of linking accounts to the family, and through this feature, parents can specify the time of watching and the type of content, the type of account as well,” she said.
Rania Ali, a presenter on Al-Aan channel, also talked about the family pairing program on TikTok, and advised that parents extend their monitoring role offline, too.
“Parents should provide a safe space to talk about any digital difficulties,” she said.
Samantha Kanonji, a Lebanese mom based in Dubai, is another creator who appears with her son, Issa. She said parents should stay familiar with what their kids are watching – and encourage them to have fun.
“We definitely have behind-the-screen control of these stories, and we’re sure to provide a safe space for our kids to develop talent on TikTok or watch videos,” she said.
TikTok plans to continue working with creators to push the safety message in an effort to help parents as they navigate their children’s increasingly complicated digital life and help alleviate concerns about online safety.
“TikTok’s suite of security features is constantly updated and improved, reflecting our firm belief that there is no bottom line when it comes to protecting the safety, privacy and well-being of the community,” said Farah Toukan, head of public policy for the Middle East, Turkey, Africa, and Pakistan.