TikTok safety guide launched to support schools, parents and carers
The Education Authority (EA) in partnership with Safer Schools NI at INEQE Safeguarding Group and the Department of Education (DE) have launched guides for schools and for parents and carers on the use of the social media app, TikTok.
The guides, launched on Safer Internet Day (7th February) were created as part of EA’s commitment to enhancing the support and guidance offered to schools in relation to social media.
Safer Internet Day is a day that promotes the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
The guides provide advice to schools, parents and carers on the basics of how TikTok works, the potential risks associated with it and helpful tips on how to best support children and young people on the use of such platforms.
The publication of the guides is extremely significant as TikTok in particular has become a platform used to target abuse against members of the teaching profession.
In a recent survey carried out by INEQE Safeguarding Group across the school community, 67% of teachers who responded stated that they had experienced this type of teacher targeted bullying.
As part of a larger reaching UK-wide problem, a recent publication shows that up to one in five teachers had reported being targeted online, either by parents or pupils, with many more cases believed to have gone under the radar.
TikTok is a social media application where users can create, share, and watch short videos; and which allows users to express themselves in creative ways such as singing, dancing and performing comedy sketches.
However, the app has brought challenges and concerns for many schools, parents and carers as highlighted by EA’s Elaine Craig: “The importance of online safety for children and young people cannot be underestimated.
“While TikTok is a hugely popular platform, potential risks include social pressures, stranger danger, lack of age verification, and access to explicit content.
“The Education Authority is aware of the social media challenges facing schools, parents, carers and the pupils themselves, and we are fully committed to the safeguarding of children and young people.
“We were delighted to work with online safety experts INEQE and the Department of Education on these guides which are a highly useful resource, and which form part of our long-term strategy to keep young people safe while online.”
INEQE deliver digital safeguarding solutions and believe in empowering people to stay safer through education and the use of innovative technology.
“In partnership with the Department of Education, INEQE created the Safer School NI App: a one-stop-shop digital library of age-appropriate safeguarding resources for teachers, parents/carers, and children and young people.
Colin Stitt, INEQE Safeguarding Group, said: “Here at Safer Schools NI, we know social media platforms such as TikTok are an important part of many young people’s lives. T
“hese spaces provide a place to connect with friends, consume content and express themselves, however we also cannot overlook the safeguarding risks that these platforms carry.
“This includes the concerning rise of teacher targeted bullying. This has far-reaching ramifications for not just the teachers being targeted, but also the young people involved.”
“As part of this partnership, we are delighted to have developed these guides which are easily accessible on our award-winning, free to download, Safer Schools NI App.
“Here you will also find a wealth of information to help you stay up to date with everything in the online world.”
“I would encourage all parents and carers to do one thing and download the app today as it will make a difference in helping to keep your children and young people safer online.”
Department of Education Permanent Secretary, Mark Browne, said: “The Department of Education welcomes the opportunity to work with the Education Authority and INEQE to deliver valuable new resources which will empower schools, parents and carers in ensuring the safety of children online.”
“New digital media technologies are changing the lives of children and young people. Although social media platforms can be powerful tools of communication, they also facilitate access to harmful content that can undermine the safety and wellbeing of our children and others.”
“The new TikTok safety guides are a great resource which will complement the Department’s Safer Schools App and help safeguard children and young people when online.
“The guides are part of our commitment to working together to deliver the objectives of the Online Safety Strategy which seeks to create a sustainable online safety infrastructure.
“Additional resources relating to online safety are available to schools on the Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment’s RSE Hub.”
The TikTok Guides can be accessed from:
For more information on online safety advice please visit:
- To learn more and access INEQE Safeguarding Group’s Safer Schools NI App, please visit: https://saferschoolsni.co.uk/media/
- (1) – Link to published research https://neu.org.uk/advice/cyberbullying-school-staff