Every day it seems like there is a new social media platform that children are using. While parents do their best to keep up, a child often find ways to stream and post content online. Tik Tok in particular has been on the rise. TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos, on any topic. While many of the posts are harmless fun, if not used responsibly, videos may be posted that can follow you for life. TikTok is especially appealing to teenagers. While relatively new to the social media world, the app can have consequences in child custody cases.
Social media evidence is admissible in court. This means, what you post online may be used against you in court, but even more, what your child is posting online may be used against you. For example, if a child is in Mom’s custody for the weekend and posts a TikTok underage drinking with their friends, then that would certainly be something that the court would be interested in when determining custody. A child may not consider the overall impact that their posts can have. A child may want to live with Mom because she is more “fun” and allows for riskier behaviors, but in a child custody case, those behaviors are going to be what the Judge is looking at in terms of which parent is better suited to follow the best interests of the child. While one Judge may consider the TikTok videos harmless postings by the child, another Judge may view the same post as a serious indication that the parent does not take reasonable care of the child. No matter how benign a child might think their post is, they do not consider consequences and there may be a lack of context that can lead a Judge to think that their time spent with Mom or Dad is not appropriate.
Interestingly enough, a child can also used TikTok as a way to express he or she’s emotions, almost like a video diary. There have been numerous videos circulating on TikTok where the child has expressed concerns they have about their parents, whether it be that the parent isn’t providing them with the proper and safe living arrangements, the parent is drinking every night, or that physical abuse is involved. There concerns of the child are coming directly from their mouth and can be taken into serious consideration during a custody dispute.
TikTok may seem like a fun video sharing app to show your latest dance moves or make-up tutorial, but when going through a child custody case, the best option would be to closely monitor what your child is posting or block the app on their phone all together.
If you or someone you know may have a matter where any of the above-mentioned situations are involved, contact Hatcher Law Group for a consultation with an experienced family law attorney to understand your rights and options moving forward.