A 33-year-old man in Tokyo has reportedly been arrested Wednesday after allegedly kidnapping an elementary school girl he met on TikTok.
The alleged abductor, Toshiya Okazaki, reportedly told Tokyo Metropolitan Police that he had invited other girls to his house before, according to Tokyo Reporter.
“I invited her because I wanted to know what kind of person she is,” Okazaki reportedly said to the police. According to Tokyo Reporter, the girl was released four and a half hours after being kidnapped.
Okazaki was previously arrested on suspicion of stealing women’s underwear from residential areas in order to “boost his spirits” after failing to pick up women.
It’s not the first case of kids being targets of online predators on TikTok. According to an investigation by the Sun in 2019, parents told the publication that their children received inappropriate and aggressive messages from older men.
Chris Morales, a 38-year-old father with a 10-year-old son, said his son received messages threatening to find his son and asking for his location.
“He’s only 10,” Morales said. “There must be a way for them to get parents’ permission to get on it. But there’s no way of them verifying their age.”
In response to criticisms of TikTok exposing younger audiences to inappropriate or obscene content, the platform created new restrictions for users under 16 this year. People under 16 can’t receive comments from strangers, have their videos used by others or available for download, and their accounts are “private” by default.
TikTok has also introduced “family Pairing,” which allows a parent or guardian to link their account to their child’s account. This allows the parent or guardian to control screen time, restrict certain content, and decide who can comment or send messages to the child’s account.
“I had to tell him that not everyone in the world is nice and people do use these sites to send horrible messages and threaten people and stuff,” Morales said.
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H/T Tokyo Reporter