TikTok Might Be Banned in India over Cyberbullying

Indian authorities from the state of Tamil Nadu want to ban the popular video-making Chinese app TikTok, one of the most downloaded apps in Asia and the US. The video platform, which has more than 500 million users worldwide, has become very popular in India, especially among teenagers. By allowing users to create 15-second videos, anyone can have their moment of fame, or even hope someone will discover their talent and turn them into a star overnight.

But the Tamil Nadu government is concerned about its darker side linked to explicit content, harassment and cyberbullying, and the effects this may have on Indian youth and their families, writes the New Indian Express. Social workers and youth counsellors in the region reported dealing with hundreds of calls from children and families complaining about the negative effects of using TikTok, addiction included. A 23-year-old even committed suicide after being cyberbullied for posting a video of himself dressed as a woman. As a result, the state’s IT minister M Manikandan is pushing for a ban across all Indian states to prevent “cultural degradation,” writes The Next Web.

“At TikTok, maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment is our priority,” the company responded. “We have robust measures to protect users against misuse, including easy reporting mechanisms that enable users and law enforcement to report content that violates our terms of use and community guidelines. We are committed to respecting local laws and regulations, and in order to better coordinate with law enforcement agencies, we are also in the process of hiring a chief nodal officer based out of India.”

A major downside for these apps is the lack of content control and basic security features to protect users from stalkers, for example. Anyone can post anything and share it with the world. A Bitdefender survey found that children who fell victim to cyerbullying felt insecure (45%), sad (45%), depressed (40%) and strange/odd (35%), while the most common reasons for cyberbullying are looks (57%), opinions (44%), personality traits (30%) and dress style (27%).

Young people who expose themselves online looking for fame or attention forget that, when anyone can see their videos, their privacy and personal information are compromised. The addiction to likes, shares and comments leaves them vulnerable to online trolling which can even lead to depression, suicide or long-term negative consequences for their development into adulthood.

The Parental Control* feature in Bitdefender BOX 2 ensures a safe internet browsing experience and detects online predators and cyberbullying behavior. Without invading children’s privacy, it warns parents when their kids engage in suspicious social media activity or spend too much time in front of the screen or with certain apps. Raising digital natives is not an easy task, so Bitdefender Parental Control gives parents an extra helping hand and peace of mind for the entire smart household.

*The Detection of Cyberbullying and Online Predators functionality is no longer available in Bitdefender products.

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