Teenagers want warnings before shocking videos on TikTok and Instagram

Insta tik kijk

M ore than 80% of teenagers between the ages of 10 and 16 and their parents would like warnings before shocking images on social media such as TikTok and Instagram. It concerns images with violence, sex, animal suffering or ‘scary’ things. This has emerged from research by NICAM, the organization behind Kijkwijzer. Young people are afraid that the algorithm will serve them more and more videos that will make them feel afraid, embarrassed or unsafe. They not only want a warning that videos contain shocking images, but also what kind of images, so that they can decide for themselves whether they would like to watch or not.

Published on: July 25 2023

Almost one in five teenagers encounters nasty or shocking videos online. This worries parents: more than two-thirds are afraid that their child will see violent images, dangerous or bullying behaviour or sexual acts. Young people themselves find it unpleasant when shocking images are shown unannounced. At the moment, they are sometimes warned with banners on the platform saying things like 'contains sensitive content'. However, children find these too vague, unclear who the sender is, they do not really stand out and/ or the notification is incorrect.

Decide for yourself

The research shows that 64% of teenagers (10-16 years old) watch videos on TikTok (for Instagram this is 39%). As they get older, they spend more time on these platforms. More than two-thirds watch TikTok for more than half an hour every day. They mainly watch vloggers and influencers, music and game videos. Young people over the age of 12 decide for themselves what they do or do not watch, parents hardly watch together with them. Where in most cases there are rules and/ or agreements with young children about how long and what can be watched, for teenagers this is only the case for a small minority.

Difficult to handle

Since 1 July 2022, uploaders of online videos, who are based in the Netherlands, have a Chamber of Commerce registration, have more than 500,000 followers, and publish a minimum of 24 videos per year, must apply Kijkwijzer and warn for potentially harmful images for children. The research shows that the most shocking or violent videos are mainly uploaded by uploaders with smaller numbers of followers or uploaders who are not located in the Netherlands (or Europe). As a result, they do not have to comply to the Dutch law and providing Kijkwijzer information is therefore not mandatory for them. However, children and teenagers do get to see these videos.

In addition, videos on Instagram and TikTok are often posted immediately on the platform. As a result, it is not always possible to assess in advance and assign pictograms (warnings) to them, as is the case with the current application of Kijkwijzer. That is why NICAM is now working together with uploaders to see how we could make this work.

The research was conducted in collaboration with GFK and YoungWorks and consisted of interviews with children, young people, uploaders and analysis of content on social media.

Would you like to learn more? 

Download the report (Dutch only) or contact us at info@nicam.nl

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