Expert shares how to keep TikTok, other social media secure

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 6:47 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - As the U.S. evaluates banning the popular social media app “TikTok” due to privacy concerns, there are things you can do right now to secure your account.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week the government has been concerned that the platform censors content and that data can be breached.

Like with any social media app, there are simple ways to help prevent unwanted access.

One way is to change your passwords every two to three months.

“Make sure that it’s not something that’s easily identifiable. So no birth dates or kid’s names or things like that,” said Stephanie Laux, a marketing consultant with Kinetic by Windstream.

Open communication between parents and children is key. Laux said you should talk to your kids about their devices and how to appropriately use social media apps. Watch what’s going on and know their passwords.

Dual authentication is recommended for increased security. TikTok doesn’t have two-factor authentication, but you can set up an option that’ll send a verification code to another device when you log in. You won’t have to enter a password.

When creating a profile for the first time, keep personal information to a minimum. Laux said the app doesn’t need to know everything about you. This applies to posts as well.

“Don’t let people know where you’re at all the time. You know, “I’m stopping here for this, and I’m going here for this.” Those routines that kids have - they do the same things after school everyday or they go to the same places to hangout. Make sure that those aren’t something that they’re often sharing,” Laux said. “Even though it seems harmless, people are watching.”

Clair Caspersen, a senior at Northwest High School, has made more than 50 videos on TikTok within the last year. Most of them are dances with her friends.

“I think it’s a good way to spend time with your friends. I don’t know, if you have nothing to do then just make TikToks,” Caspersen said.

She spends a few hours each day on the app, scrolling through people’s 15-second videos.

Caspersen said TikTok is her favorite form of social media right now, and she’d miss it if she couldn’t use the platform.

“It would make me really sad,” Caspersen said. “I understand why, but I hope it stays.”

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