*** TikTok boasts more than 1.5 billion active users worldwide.

*** Finds parental control software maker Qustodio: “Overall last year, kids spent a whopping
91 minutes per day on TikTok…”

CNN’s Oliver Darcy headlined his December 13 article with “Ban TikTok? How Republicans Are Playing to the Fox News Crowd with Attacks on the Social Media App.”

BUT, on that same date…

*** from Reuters: “U.S. Lawmakers Unveil Bi-Partisan Bid to Ban China’s TikTok”

*** from NBC News: “Lawmakers Unveil Bipartisan Bill to Ban TikTok Nationwide”

*** from CNN: “FCC Commissioner Calls on Apple and Google to Remove TikTok from Their App Stores”

*** from CBS News: “TikTok Pushes Potentially Harmful Content to Users as Often as Every 39 Seconds, Study Says”

On the 15th came this headline from Bloomberg.com: “TikTok Crackdown Gathers Steam in US Congress on National Security Risks.”

The article went on to say, “Senators in both parties Thursday pressed for more action by the Biden administration to address national security concerns raised by widespread use of TikTok a day after voting to ban the video-sharing app on government phones…”

Virginia’s Democrat Senator and Senate Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner said, “Congress and states may take further steps soon to limit TikTok because of security concerns if the Biden administration doesn’t quickly come forward with a solution to protect American users of the Chinese-owned social medial network.”

Then, referring to the Department of Justice’s review of TikTok to safeguard data, he said, “My patience has run thin.”

And not only does TikTok pose a national security risk but presents potential danger to vulnerable kids, too,  with such challenges as:

  1. The Blackout Challenge, aka the Pass-out Challenge: Here, users hold their breath and then constricts their chest muscle. The risk comes from cutting off oxygen from one’s brain that can cause brain damage, even death.

(Two sets of parents have sued the company behind the algorithm. Their daughters, ages 8 and 9, died trying out this Blackout Challenge.)

  1. The Fire Mirror Challenge: Here, users cover a mirror with Vaseline, sets it on fire, and then video themselves trying to douse the flames with their hands and/or other body parts. Imagine the burns.
  2. The Orbeez Shooting Challenge: Here Orbeez, small, hard, colorful water beads are used as ammunition in a water gun. Participants shoot each other from close range, causing eye injuries, cuts, and bruises.

Plus, Study.com finds that 25% of kids use TikTok for education purposes, with 69% of them saying it’s been most helpful with their English classes.

Then there’s Pew Research report that 26% of adults get their news from this outfit.

So contrary to what some might think, this is a bipartisan issue and call to action against TikTok, one that should be universal.

As columnist Marc A. Thiessen put it, “If TikTok is part of your family’s world, then so is China.”

~ With my thanks and merry holiday and 2023 wishes, Carol

P.S. This year alone, the platform’s expected advertising earnings: $12 billion!