TikTok is automatically setting a one-hour limit for users under 18 — but it's a setting that's easy to bypass
- TikTok announced a new one-hour screen time limit for teens, among other controls.
- The app is also expanding parental control features that filter what type of videos minors see.
Minors using TikTok will soon be limited on how much time they're able to scroll the app, thanks to a new automatic setting implemented for anyone under 18.
In a blog post published Wednesday, TikTok announced it is making "changes to help teens manage their time on TikTok" in the coming weeks. Although the setting can be toggled off, teens will be automatically prompted to enter a passcode when they hit the 60-minute limit.
Teenage TikTokers will also receive a weekly recap of their screen time in their inbox on the app. The new rollout has tested well for the company, which saw a 234% increase in the use of its screen time tools in the first month, according to the blog post.
"While there's no collectively endorsed position on the 'right' amount of screen time or even the impact of screen time more broadly, we consulted the current academic research and experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children's Hospital in choosing this limit," Cormac Keenan, TikTok's head of trust and safety, wrote in the blog post.
TikTok also announced updates to its Family Pairing feature that will allow a parent or guardian to link their account to their teen's TikTok and set parental controls. The controls will make it possible to filter videos with certain words or hashtags from their child's For You Page and set a customizable schedule that would mute TikTok notifications.
The app, owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance, has proved particularly popular among Gen Z users. In September, Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan said almost 40% of young people use TikTok instead of Google when looking for restaurant suggestions.
Despite TikTok's popularity among those born after 1996, screen time limits may not be enough for US lawmakers who are seeking to ban the app completely due to security concerns over providing China with access to user data. The US House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on Wednesday to advance a bill that would give President Joe Biden the power to ban TikTok, according to a report from CNBC.
Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, sponsor of the act to ban TikTok, dubbed the app "digital fentanyl," Insider's Brian Metzger reported last week.
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