TikTok today unveiled new features for teens aimed at limiting screen time to an hour a day.
Accounts belonging to users under age 18 will automatically be set to a 60-minute daily screen time limit. Once that’s hit, the service will prompt teens to enter a passcode in order to continue watching, “requiring them to make an active decision to extend that time,” he hugely popular video app owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance said in a blog post today.
For kids under 13, a parent or guardian will need to set or enter an existing passcode to enable 30 minutes of additional watch time. The company said it consulted current academic research and experts at Boston Children’s Hospital in choosing the limit.
The service will prompt teens to set a daily screen time limit if they opt out of the 60-minute default and spend more than 100 minutes on TikTok in a day. It will also send every teen account a weekly inbox notification with a recap of their screen time. It will roll out the updates “in the coming weeks.”
New features also include giving caregivers the ability to customize daily screen time limits; a screen time dashboard, which 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; and a new “mute notifications” setting that enables parents to set a schedule to mute notifications for their teen.
Account holders aged 13-15 currently don’t receive push notifications from 9 pm, and accounts aged 16-17 have push notifications disabled from 10p m, TikTok said.
The company teen screen move comes amid persistent security concerns over user data and privacy, given the provenance of TikTok’s parent company . The White House announced this week it’s requiring all federal agencies to wipe the app from government-issued devices in 30 days given cybersecurity concerns. The White House itself, as well as the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security have already banned the app on staff devices. EU and Canada have taken similar steps.
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