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By: Talib Shahin

More or less everybody is somewhat interested in social networking nowadays. When it comes to social networks, it is FACEBOOK which first comes to one’s mind. But social networking today is not limited only to FACEBOOK as we also have a photo and video based social network site like INSTAGRAM, and video sites- TIK TOK being one among them.

TIK TOK is a social media app for creating and sharing videos as well as live broadcasting. Launched in September 2016 by Byte Dance, it is a leading short video platform in Asia and has extended to other parts of the world, becoming one of the fastest growing apps with a large consumer base across several countries for short music videos. Allowing users to create musicals, dance, comedy, acting, lip-sync and other types of short videos in 15 seconds, the app has achieved more than 500 million global users across 150 countries.

It is owned by Byte Dance, a china based company that creates innovative platforms powered by machine learning technology. It is rated 12+ on the Apple app store and ‘’teen maturity’’ on Google play. There is no system in place to verify a user’s age, so anyone can download it. The app only allows users two settings when posting; for videos to be completely private- meaning restricted to the creator’s viewing only-or for clips to be entirely open to the public. In the privacy settings offered by TIK TOK, users can only choose if friends, or anyone, can send them private messages, and block specific users. There is no friends-only sharing option. Users are also not able to delete their accounts themselves but must do so by email request.

However, TIK TOK application is utterly misused by majority of its users. Used for harassment, bad jokes, indecent dancing, terrible mimicking etc, this application even allows to make a prayer video with a distasteful dance hurting the sentiments of millions. All over the world, and also in Kashmir, there are growing concerns about the risks younger users may be exposing themselves to when they post videos on the app. People have been found uploading embarrassing or sexual clips saved from TIK TOK to other platforms to make fun of the moral and religious values. It is on way to destroy the family and faith values.

TIK TOK servers store the data, because the videos can’t be really deleted online, before they delete, others may have saved the videos on their devices, as everybody can see and download from this platform. According to media reports, predators were found to be sending messages to younger ones asking for nude photos, including to one eight-year-old girl in Melbourne and a seven-year-old girl in the US. The BIG problem is that a lot of the available music and sound bites contain all the very adult language. I found some 10 year old lip syncing to lyrics they didn’t even understand. And dancing and gesturing the way a super hit actor does.

There are also kids, minors around the age of 10 cursing, dinging curses and singing about oral sex. At ten, even at any level of age, this is absolutely disgusting and horrifying. What we have here is unlimited access to explicit lyric songs, and youth copying all the highly suggestive dance moves that accompany these unedited videos. Pair all this with hash tag ‘’ratings’’ below each video that lead to even more explicit material, and you could really see some eye popping material!! I can see why this app is immensely popular amongst the peer groups as it is an easy way for them to start communicating/ sharing with members of the opposite sex.

It is to be taken into serious consideration that first of all your children should not possess mobile phones if they are less than 14 as the device is terribly dangerous not just in the ethical sense but also due to the radiations that can damage the health of a user, particularly a minor whose brain is taking a shape yet. These children will be subjected to extremely inappropriate content at such a young age that will de-sensitize them and they will programme it into their minds as something quite ‘ok’. Children having access to such sites is quite likely to destroy the moral, ethical, social, cultural as well as religious values forever.  It was intended to be a site where teens can make fun videos with songs, but now it is literally a colorful and silent pornography site. I can’t believe parents are allowing their kids to lip sync in appropriate songs and dance likes worst goons and prostitutes. These parents need to re-examine their approvals for what they are allowing their kids and landing them into.

Modesty is the quality that distinguishes human beings from animals. Animals follow their instincts without feeling any shame or a sense of right or wrong. Hence, the less modesty a person has, the more he/she resembles animals. The more modesty a person has, the closer he is to being human. Almighty says in the holy Quran;  ‘’Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! God is aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their chests, and not to reveal their adornment.’’ [Qur’an; 24; 30]

TIK TOK is destroying our youth. It is destroying the family and moral values and making our youth totally ill mannered. Parents, teachers, and Islamic scholars can counter this FITNAH. This FITNAH is dragging us towards shame. Once our valley was called ‘’PEER-VEER’’ but unfortunately the graphs of morality and modesty are decreasing day by day and all we need is to encourage modesty in every aspect of life, modesty in what we wear, how we treat others, and what we do. This needs ideological breakdown with speedy efforts; otherwise, it may be too late.

[The author is a blogger, freelance writer and student of 12th class. He can be mailed and contacted on [email protected]]

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