An app for teens to share fun videos has become such a “hunting ground” for paedophiles that schools have issued alerts directly to parents. The Mirror online reports.
TikTok – one of the world’s most downloaded apps – is exposing children as young as five to leering sex pests, cruel taunts and the glorifying of anorexia and self-harm.
One school head even warned: “There has been suspicion the app is being used to stalk teenage girls.”
The app is a huge hit with under-16s, and head teachers from dozens of schools – including early years primaries – have sent letters to thousands of parents across the UK.
Our reporting team spent this week investigating the app, which kids on half-term would have been using.
One video showed a teenage girl dancing while other users ogling her urged: “Take off your clothes.”
Another innocent video featuring a girl of 15 drew a string of crude comments from men about sex acts.
Others show teens in school uniform being punched in the head and users glorifying eating disorders. One disturbing clip showed a teenage boy exposing his skeletal ribs. He tagged his post “#thinspo”, for “thin inspiration” – used to seek approval for body image issues.
One primary school in Cornwall said: “Parents of children in Year 3 to Year 6 have been horrified by what children are exposed to.”
Parents in Hounslow, London, were alerted to the hashtag #tradefortrade, a sign of wanting to trade illicit content.
One North Yorkshire school advised: “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.”
In Stockport, Gtr Manchester, parents were alerted to the #takeitoff challenge, in which young girls are urged to video themselves removing their school shirts.
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