Rapper Kanye West has expressed his desire to develop a Christian version of popular video-sharing app, TikTok. The entrepreneur said the idea for 'Jesus Tok' came to him after observing videos with his daughter which he felt were inappropriate for kids.
"A VISION JUST CAME TO ME... JESUS TOK I WAS WATCHING TIK TOK WITH MY DAUGHTER AND AS A CHRISTIAN FATHER I WAS DISTURBED BY A LOT OF THE CONTENT BUT I COMPLETELY LOVED THE TECHNOLOGY," Kanye wrote.
West said he was seeking to "collaborate with Tik Tok to make a Christian monitored version that feels safe for young children and the world in Jesus name".
In response to Kanye's announcement, Bex Lewis, Digital Marketing lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University told Premier Christian News: "There's always someone trying to make a Christian version of something. And I don't think it really works.
"I think it sends us off into a separate space in the world rather than changing the world as a whole. And we've had people try and set up GodTube and things like that instead of YouTube. I'm much more interested in being salt and light in the real spaces that people are actually using.
Lewis said that she agreed, however, that the content on these apps does require some monitoring from parents. "Parents should be watching what children are doing online. And like any space, especially when they're younger, you should be doing it with them and then gradually giving them more and more freedom and helping them think about the kind of things that they're engaging with online," she added.
Lewis, the author of Raising Children in a Digital Age, also suggested that TikTok could be used in a positive way:
"So I follow quite a lot of body positivity kind of stuff and some more progressive Christians and things like that. So you can shape it a bit to be what you want.
"[We need to] think about what is actually going to help shape the world as a whole...how do we introduce people to Jesus, who walks alongside them in every part of their life, be that online, offline, the good stuff, the bad stuff?"
TikTok, a Chinese-owned platform worth approximately $75 billion, has been in the headlines over recent weeks after US President Donald Trump announced that its parent company, ByteDance, must sell or spin off its US-based business, citing national security concerns. “There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance...might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump wrote in an executive order Friday.
ByteDance has 90 days to comply with the presidential request.
Listen to Premier's full interview with Bex Lewis here: