TikTok is rolling out a new implementation aiming to protect users under 18 years of age by enforcing a screentime limit policy of one hour.
It is no secret that social media use is linked to negative effects on users’ mental health, especially to users under 18 that are more susceptible to social media addiction. One social media platform, TikTok is taking action by setting a 60-minute limit on the app for users under 18 to help teens and kids make informed decisions regarding time spent scrolling.
Cormac Keenan, Head of Trust and Safety of Tik Tok, released a safety issue release on March 1st. The popular app explained that the new limit was determined through consulting with the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital.
The new limit depends on the account owner’s age. If the TikTok account owner is younger than 18 and the 60-minute limit is reached, teens will need to enter a passcode in order to continue spending time on the app. For users under 13 years of age, a parent or guardian will need to set and enter a passcode to enable 30 minutes of additional time once they have hit the initial 60-minute limit.
Keenan informed TikTok users that they would also begin sending out weekly inbox notifications with a recap of every teen’s screen time. TikTok explained the importance of being more aware of how time is spent so users can be more intentional about their decisions.
Along with the limit comes three new TikTok features. According to Keenan, the first is a custom daily screen time limit that “Caregivers will be able to use Family Pairing to customize the daily screen time limit for their teen.” The second new feature is the screen time dashboard on Family Pairing, that, “provides summaries of time on the app, the number of times TikTok was opened, and a breakdown of total time spent during the day and night.”
The last feature is the ability for parents to set a schedule to mute notifications. These features are a result of screen time being one of the more frequent topics parents are most concerned about.
In the past, TikTok has been known to have negative effects on children’s physical and mental health. The popular app has received backlash from parents expressing how their children are being exposed to inappropriate languages and addicting habits. It is expected for concerned parents to utilize this feature that allows for a 60-minute limit and a passcode entry once their child’s limit is reached.
According to CNN, TikTok is also facing pressure from Washington because of security concerns from its ties to China through its parent company, Bytedance. This is not the first time a ban on TikTok has been considered, which may raise even more concerns for parents of children.
Overall, this new limit comes as a result of research and parent concerns about how their children are spending their time and the physical and mental effects of social media addiction. It is unclear how effective the new limit will be for teens as they have the choice to override the limit themselves, however, we may see a positive screen time improvement in users under 13 since their parents will have to enter a passcode.