Here is some bad news for all those who love creating videos on TikTok. After a series of complaints and backlash, the popular app has been ordered to go off the app stores by a high court in India.
As per a report, the users who already have the app installed on their phones can continue to use the app but the fresh order prevents new downloads from happening.
Formerly known as musical.ly, TikTok is an app through which users can create and share quick 15 second videos with other people. There are as many as 17 million active users of the app in India alone, wherein a lot of them are under 18.
The app was previously banned in countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan for displaying adult content unsuitable for the age groups the app largely caters to. Over the past few months, a lot of reports have surfaced online about the lack of quality control the app had. Some users even reported seeing abusive and sexually explicit videos on the app. This is especially alarming, considering that children and young adults between the age of 13 – 20 are their primary audience.
TikTok users have also reported the issue of cyberbullying on the app. Some users have also left abusive and trolling comments on the videos circulating through the app. To deal with this, the Chinese app also introduced certain filters wherein users can ban certain words from appearing. It includes a list of upto 30 words in Hindi as well as English. The app also published guidelines in other regional languages to prevent adulterated content from being circulated.
Since the users of the app are of a young, impressionable age, a lot of criticism surrounding the app was about the addictive nature of TikTok. People started making videos in odd places, moving traffic, putting their lives at risk. In 2019 alone, over 20 people in India have lost their lives using the app.
The app has also invited criticism from parents over the open interface of the app, where children can interact with strangers via the app. This can also invite possible predators and molesters.
Speaking about the ban, writer and educator, Kartik Bajoria said,
“As parents bringing up a new generation of children that are exposed to a myriad of potentially damaging stimuli, especially in the form of media, be it sexually explicit and violent video games, a barrage of pop culture through films and music that objectifies women, and countless other visual messaging such as advertising & branding that instils a wrong sense of self that is purely dictated by materialism; we need to be awfully careful.
Does this mean that our children live under a rock, that we lock them like Rapunzel was? Of course not. What it does however mean is that parents have to be conscious, cautious and considerate. An app such as tik tok is a great case in point; it is stimulus and exposure to this kind of content that must be monitored. Thankfully, a technological revolution that has led to much of this objectionable content being out there in the first place also is our best friend in these circumstances. There is any number of apps, software, systems that are available to us in order to monitor, block, and give curated, partial access to our devices. From mobile phones to smart televisions, viewership can be curtailed both in terms of time and content through these smart solutions that are tailor-made for parents to be able to censor content that kids are exposed to. This, in combination with parents’ genuine desire to replace screen-time (the easiest go-to solution to occupy kids) with their own time, are the two things that I feel are the need of the hour. In order to safeguard our kids from this over-stimulation, we need to go that extra mile.”