TikTok has announced new well-being features for teens, families and its broader community.
This is connected to the fact that digital experiences should bring joy and play a positive role in how people express themselves, discover ideas and connect.
The entertainment platform is improving its screen time controls with more custom options, introducing new default settings for teen accounts, and expanding Family Pairing with more parental controls.
The Head of Trust and Safety and Tik Tok, Mr Cormac Keenan at TikTok says the new features will help teens manage their time on TikTok better.
“In the coming weeks, every account belonging to a user under 18 years will automatically be set to a 60-minute daily screen time limit. “When deciding on a feasible amount of screen time for teens, we consulted the current academic research and experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. While there’s no collectively-endorsed position on how much screen time is ‘too much’, or even the impact of screen time more broadly, we recognise that teens typically require extra support as they start to explore the online world independently. If the 60-minute limit is reached, teens will be prompted to enter a passcode to continue watching, requiring them to make an active decision to extend that time,” he explains.
He added that research indicated that when people are more aware of how they spend their time they can be more intentional about the decisions they make, and this was important, but typically more difficult, for younger audiences.
Mr Keenan says TikTok is also prompting teens to set a daily screen time limit if they turn off the 60-minute default and spend more than 100 minutes on TikTok in a day.
“In our first month of testing, this approach increased the use of our screen time management tools by 234%. And, we’ll send every teen account a weekly inbox notification with a recap of their screen time.” These features add to TikTok’s robust existing safety settings for teen accounts. For instance, those aged 13-15 have their accounts set to private by default, enabling them to make informed choices about what they choose to share, when, and with whom. Direct messaging is only available to those age 16 and older and to host a LIVE, community members must be at least 18.
He added that it is important to help families have conversations about digital well-being , when teens need support, parents or caregivers are often the first people they can turn to, making them one of TikTok’s most important partners.
AsTik tok continues to innovate on how to empower families, it is adding four new features to Family Pairing: including .
Custom daily screen time limits: Caregivers will be able to use Family Pairing to customise the daily screen time limit for their teens – including choosing different time limits depending on the day of the week.
Screen time dashboard:. This 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.
Mute notifications: Notifications help people to stay connected, but there are times when it’s important to be uninterrupted. TikTok is introducing a new setting that enables parents to set a schedule to mute notifications for their teens. Currently, accounts aged 13-15 do not receive push notifications from 9pm and accounts aged 16-17 have push notifications disabled from 10pm.
New content controls: TikTok is cognisant that caregivers would like more oversight of the content their teens engage with, and the business is in the early stages of developing a way for caregivers to filter videos they don’t want their teen to watch with words or hashtags.
Mr Keenan added that they wanted to provide families with controls to make decisions based on their individual needs, and also recognised the importance of doing so with careful consideration for both parents and teens, and would continue to over the next few weeks, would continue to engage with parents, youth, and civil society organisations to design the feature.
He explained that every teen is different, and so is every family. That’s why TikTok remains focused on reaching parents with the information they need about TikTok. It does this through partnerships with creators, industry experts, and advertising campaigns focused on safety features. TikTok will continue to surface Family Pairing information to some of its users in-app to help them understand the options that may be useful to them or someone they know. It hopes these features will continue to help families establish an ongoing dialogue about safety and well-being in the digital world.