TikTok investigation: Eight states look at effect on young people

At least eight states including California, Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey launched an investigation into the social media platform TikTok and its impact on young Americans. 

The group of attorneys general that opened a similar investigation into Instagram last year will now look into whether TikTok - the latest platform under scrutiny, used techniques to boost young user engagement. We reached out to New York Attorney General Letitia James and she had no comment. 

Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Scott Krakower says while TikTok is one way to get the latest information and trends, there are downsides including viral challenges that could be potentially dangerous or mean.

"Some of the stuff can be interesting or comical and other parts can be kind of questionable," Krakower said. "Sometimes you could be subjected to potential bullying, you could be left out of events or see what’s on going with other people that maybe you didn’t want to know."

Get breaking news alerts in the free FOX5NY News app | Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters

Krakower says it’s important for parents to be aware of what’s going on with their children’s accounts. 

For their part, a spokesperson for TikTok says they care about protecting and supporting the well-being of their community and they appreciate the attorneys general focusing on the safety of younger users. The platform does have an online challenge guide in their Safety Center for teens and families that encourages people to Stop, Think, Decide and Act when they see something potentially dangerous online. 

Data from a survey done by TikTok found 48-percent of teens said recent challenges they had seen were categorized as safe, fun or light-hearted.