TikTok dance challenge: A threat to public morals and decency?

READER’S VIEWS (The Freeman) - April 8, 2021 - 12:00am

TikTok, which is also known as “Douyin” in China, is one of the most popular mobile apps on social media. However, this mobile app isn’t promoting the wholesome entertainment that it was designed by its makers.

This android app was launched by Chinese company ByteDance in 2017. It is used to make a variety of personal to business short-form videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education with a duration of fifteen seconds to one minute.

Tiktok is the 7th most downloaded mobile app of the decade from 2010 to 2019. It was also the most-downloaded app on Apple’s App Store in 2018 and 2019 surpassing Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. It has been made available in over 150 markets and 75 languages.

Despite TikTok’s very phenomenal success, it encounters various controversies like addiction, immorality, misinformation, and user privacy issues. In Western countries, it is accused of spyware, cyberbullying, and a threat to national security by the Trump administration. In conservative Asia for violation of public morals, racism, promoting obscenity, and encouraging pornography.

TikTok's main audience is young children. They used this app for entertainment, gain popularity, a platform for dance challenges, peer pressure, and boosting self-confidence.

Unfortunately, such a mobile app is used as a dance platform by young girls indecently. As you can see in FB Tiktok Viral and several accounts, young girls dance in a sexually provocative manner with very tight, revealing bikini attire to half-naked. It doesn’t promote any more art, creativity, and fun for the youth but it can arouse sexual desire. These girls doing dirty dancing-like moves, like ‘twerking’ online is a bad influence on minors for they can become sex objects and easy prey to sex predators online.

Parental guidance play important role in children’s TikTok time. Parents should be more vigilant to monitor the children's TikTok activity. Young people need to understand that dancing is a good ability and talent but having less cover to one’s body is doing it whether in private or public is a different thing. It violates public morals and decency. It contradicts Filipino values and practices. The state has a policy to protect these minors from sexual exploitation. The state must defend public morals and maintain decency.

January this year, TikTok was officially banned in India for the reason “that it is prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity, security and public order of the state.” Then followed by its neighboring countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh for similar reasons.

In the Philippines, DSWD and women’s groups must take a closer look and study this issue that discreetly affecting minors. We can’t allow our young generation to be influenced and lose their morals and decency online because of this mobile app. It’s high time for our lawmakers to “think and talk” over this urgent and relevant issue before it gets serious and out of hand. - Renester P. Suralta

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