TikTok mobile app

Available in 155 countries and 75 different languages, TikTok has taken the world by storm, as millions of young users spend hours watching or creating videos.

Formally known as Musically, TikTok is a mobile app that allows users to post videos in a variety of genres such as dance, makeup tutorials and celebrity trends.

All registered users are open to comment on anything they come across.

With the hundreds of music, filters and editing features to experiment with, many young teenagers have got creative on the app publicly sharing their work. However, with up to 500 million active users every month, the app has received backlash due to reports of online trolling, bullying and body-shaming.

Aiofe Mcmorrow (@mamaaiofe), who’s 19, has been using TikTok for a year, posting a range of content from dances to comedic videos. Her profile aims to demonstrate body-positivity, and she hopes to spread awareness of self-love and acceptance of different body types.

Comments from users posted on Aiofe’s TikTok account

With a current following of 159k and counting, Aiofe explains that as her following increased, so did the hate comments she received.

Many of these comments regarded her weight, and she expressed how despite the negativity she chooses to not let these comments put her down, and continues to still share and spotlight body-positivity.

Users who have come across hate and negative comment have reported that most of these cases are received from younger youths, age between twelve and fourteen, as opposed to an older user. This raises concern that young cyberbullies are still a prevalent issue, and that TikTok has become another social media platform that enables bullies and haters to exploit.

”it’s younger people, age between 12-14, that seem to POST negative comments. THIS IS quite worrying for the younger generation  AS TO how they will grow up to be”

19-year-old Aiofe McMorrow, Luton

When it comes to dealing with online negativity, every user handles the problem differently. 20-year-old Stefanie Diaz Morale (@fragilestef), who began creating content in the first 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, has also had to combat this issue on her profile.

In this video, she shares her experiences and explains how she deals with online trolls and bullies:

Aiofe’s and Steffie’s experience is an example of two in a million young users who deal with bullying, trolling and body-shaming on TikTok.

With a large number of cyberbullying cases reported, the app has taken action by providing features that enable users to delete comments or block and report another.

Here’s how to report a user, comment or video on TikTok:

Reporting a comment

  • Tap & hold the comment
  • Tap report

Reporting a person

  • Go to their profile
  • Tap on the three dots
  • Tap report or block

Reporting a video

  • Tap on the right-facing arrow on the video page under the heart comments and icons
  • Tap report

If you are experiencing online hate or bullying on any social media platform, please don’t suffer in silence and contact the National Bullying Helpline on 08452255787 or 03003230169. Open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.