Report: Online predators use teen app Tik Tok to solicit children

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- A popular app for teens and tweens is reportedly now a magnet for child predators. It's called Tik Tok.

It's one of the most downloaded apps among teenagers, beating out Instagram and Facebook. Experts say kids and teens love Tik Tok as a way to express themselves in short, fun videos, gain a following, and attract interaction with other people.

In the summer of 2018 Tik Tok officially took off after merging with Musical.ly. Since then its gained 130 million active users and is available in 34 languages.

The app is innocent enough, but there are reportedly online predators who use these apps to lure children.

The tech website Motherboard investigated the app and found a large community of adult users on TikTok *soliciting* nude photos from kids.

Some of those users even sent explicit videos to children. One of the main issues with TikTok is that when kids sign up to use the app, the default setting on their accounts is "public", meaning anything they share can be seen by any other user.

It's easy enough to switch it private so that users can only communicate with their friends. However, even private accounts don't eliminate the risk your child could stumble onto porn while using the "search" feature.

The app also collects an alarming amount of data from its young users, including location, phone and social media contacts and more.

It's important for parents to talk to their kids about the app, how to use it wisely, and what to do if someone or something inappropriate comes across their account.

Click here to learn how to turn on some of the parental control features.