Nine-year-old exposed to 'naked pic challenge' after dad allows her to have TikTok

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

It can be tough enough co-parenting children even when there are two committed adults involved, but what happens when one undermines the other and a child is exposed to inappropriate online content as a result?

A horrified mum has sought the advice of Redditors after her nine-year-old daughter was exposed to a "naked pic challenge" on TikTok, a dire consequence of her ex-husband allowing the child to have TikTok without the mum's knowledge or consent.

She starts the post, "I found out yesterday that my just turned nine year old has had a Tiktok account for the past six months. I found out by reading her messages with friends and saw that she had sent a link to one of her videos."

She continued, "I looked at her account and they were all very age appropriate videos but when I clicked on her friends account it was a different story. This girl (same age) was posting weird animated videos of her and her friends wearing skimpy clothes and kissing each other and one post she had featured a 'challenge.'"

Here's where things become even more concerning.

"The challenge was a list of things she had to do if she got a certain amount of likes. If she got 35 likes she would have to post a naked photo of herself," she wrote.

The mum made the other girl's parents aware of the worrying behaviour and then contacted her child's father. 

"I told him I was uncomfortable with her being on this app especially since I had made it clear in the past that I didn't want our daughter posting videos online," she wrote.

"He had previously made a YouTube channel for her but after I told him I wasn't comfortable with it he went and secretly made her a TikTok account and they kept it from me as my daughter knew she wasn't allowed to use it."

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The history of undermining her doesn't stop there.

"I asked her father to delete her account and he said he did. It turns out he just changed her username and hoped I wouldn't find it. He refuses to delete her account as he sees her using social media as a positive thing and that it will allow her to be "ahead of the curve" with technology."

It turns out he has a completely different philosophy on raising kids with social media.

"He doesn't think it's dangerous as "our daughter is smart". He can't see that she's a CHILD and shouldn't be exposed to this content. He kept saying "they're going to see worse things on the internet anyway so it's not a big deal."

She contacted TikTok and asked them to remove the account but they didn't. She spoke to the girl's school about reinforcing online safety, but after all is said and done, if the child is spending time at her dad's and he's encouraging the use, what can she do?

Desperate, she asks what she can do about her "brick wall" ex and the fact her daughter is willing to hide it from her, despite having talked with her about it. People respond kindly.

"TikTok specifically has a massive problem with sexual predators. (Only Omegle is worse.) Basically the algorithm is such that if you like one video of a preteen doing whatever, it will show you more preteens... Perhaps try talking to dad about it from this angle. Instead of social media = bad, it's a safety issue."

Another writes, "This is so serious, I would question letting her go back over his house unsupervised until you and he come to an agreement on open communication and respecting each other's boundaries."

"Your ex is wrong in this instance. Being on social media is not being 'ahead of the curve with technology' in any way. Social media is nothing more than a hangout space and should be treated accordingly."

"Her father is an absolute idiot I'm sorry you have to share custody with him. I have no advice but you have every right to be furious that he is undermining your authority and endangering your daughter."

While a few people say kids need access to social media in order to learn how to navigate it, others say nine is way too young to have unfettered exposure to it.

"A nine-year-old is not capable of understanding the online environment enough to even really have those in-depth conversations yet. They are not mature enough to handle self-imposed limits. And it unnecessarily opens them up to predators before they are old enough to really comprehend the danger there. There is zero benefit at this age."

The issue of 'age limits' is bandied around, but those limits are not necessarily there to directly prevent children from using social media. They exist to comply with US child privacy laws and are haphazardly enforced by social media platforms, if at all.

Mum seems reasonable enough, saying, "I have offered to open my own account and make fun videos together as she is really good at it and it seemed like a fun creative outlet. I just explained that she can't have the app installed on any of her devices."