TikTok announced today that it is introducing new wellbeing features for teens, families and the wider community. The company improves screen time controls with more custom options, introduces new default settings for teen accounts, and expands Family Pairing with more parental controls.
Every account of a user under the age of 18 will soon be automatically set to a daily screen time limit of 60 minutes. Once the 60 minute limit is reached, teens will be prompted to enter a passcode to continue scrolling. For users of TikTok’s experience under 13, the daily screen time limit will also be set to 60 minutes. When the screen time limit is reached, a parent or guardian must set or enter an existing passcode to allow an additional 30 minutes of viewing time.
The app asks teens to set a daily screen time limit if they break the default time of 60 minutes and spend more than 100 minutes on TikTok per day. In the company’s first month of testing, this approach was found to increase usage of its screen time management tools by 234%. TikTok also sends every teen account a weekly inbox notification summarizing their screen time.
TikTok is also adding new features to its Family Pairing tool, which allows parents to link their account to their teen’s to enable content and privacy settings. Notably, the company said it’s in the early stages of developing a way for healthcare providers to filter videos containing words or hashtags they don’t want their teen to view. TikTok is currently working with parent, youth, and community organizations to design this feature.
In addition, caregivers can now use Family Pairing to customize their teen’s daily screen time limit, including the option to select different time limits depending on the day of the week. For example, you can give your teen more screen time on weekends and holidays while limiting screen time during weekdays.
The company is also bringing its Screen Time dashboard to Family Pairing. The dashboard includes information on how much time a teen spent on the app during the day and night, along with statistics on how often they opened the app. TikTok says that by proving this information directly to healthcare providers, they can guide their teens.
TikTok is also introducing a new setting that allows parents to set a schedule to mute notifications for their teen. It is worth noting that accounts of users aged 13-15 already do not receive push notifications from 9pm and accounts of users aged 16-17 have push notifications disabled from 10pm. TikTok says it’s aware that while notifications help people stay connected, there are times when it’s important to be undisturbed.
As for the wider community, TikTok says it wants all of its users to be in control of their experience with the app. Therefore, it gives everyone the option to set their own custom screen time limits for each day of the week and a schedule to mute notifications. The company is also rolling out a sleep reminder for users to remind themselves when it’s time to put the app down and go to sleep.
“We will continue to invest in improving our current features and introducing new tools to help people stay in control as they express their creativity, make meaningful connections and enjoy culture-defining entertainment,” the company said in a blog post.
A recent report revealed that TikTok is the social app that kids and teens spend the most time on during the day, even outpacing YouTube. Given its popularity among kids and teens, it’s no surprise that TikTok is looking to improve its wellbeing features for young users.
In recent years, TikTok has come under scrutiny regarding the app’s impact on its youngest users. It’s been more than a year since executives of social media platforms, including TikTok, faced questions from lawmakers during congressional hearings about how their platforms could negatively impact young users. Since then, the company has released updates that focus on minor security. The new features announced today are part of the app’s effort to please lawmakers.