TikTok will now limit screen time for users under the age of 18.
According to a post uploaded to the company's blog on Wednesday, the app will begin automatically setting a 60 minute per day time limit for minors over the next few weeks in order "help teens manage their time on TikTok," per TikTok Head of Trust and Safety, Cormac Keenan. The announcement said that TikTok will also simultaneously improve its screen time tools with more parental controls, custom options and default settings, including a scheduling feature to mute notifications as well as sleep reminders for those who want to receive a notification reminding them to stop scrolling.
If teens exceed the hour limit, they will asked "to make an active decision to extend that time" by providing a passcode in order to resume viewing. At the end of every week, TikTok will also give teens a weekly summary of their screen time, as well as a prompt to set a daily limit if usage exceeds 100 minutes. Meanwhile, users under the age of 13 will be unable to continue watching unless a parent or guardian enters a passcode that allows another 30 minutes.
"We believe digital experiences should bring joy and play a positive role in how people express themselves, discover ideas, and connect," Keenan wrote in the post before citing information from digital watchdog organization, Internet Matters. They explained that the one hour limit was decided based on expert findings from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children's Hospital, adding that "being more aware of how we spend our time can help us be more intentional about the decisions we make."
TikTok's new time limit comes amid growing concern about the youth mental health crisis, with researchers linking social media use to increasing rates of depression and suicidal ideation amongst teens. In 2021, the platform tried to also tackle the rise of content promoting eating disorders by introducing new resources and PSAs in partnership with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
Additionally, the change follows the implementation of new government policies meant to curtail any potential data collection by the Chinese-owned app, though TikTok has previously denied speculation surrounding its link to the Chinese government. However, the White House recently gave federal agencies 30 days to delete the app from any government devices, with similar bans already in place within Canada and the European Union.
You can read the Associated Press' entire report and accompanying analysis about TikTok's new time limit here.
Photo Ilustration via Getty Images / Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto
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