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TikTok announces new improvement for screen time controls

TikTok is an entertainment platform powered by digital experiences bringing communities joy, entertainment, connection and enrichment. In order to ensure these experiences play a positive role in how people express themselves and connect TikTok has announced improvements to their screen time controls with more custom options, introducing new default settings for teen accounts, and expanding Family Pairing with more parental controls.

Changes to help teens manage their time on TikTok
As part of the announcement, every account below age 18 will automatically be set to a 60-minute daily screen time limit. If the 60-minute limit is reached, teens will be prompted to enter a passcode in order to continue watching, requiring them to make an active decision to extend that time.

While there’s no collectively-endorsed position on how much screen time is ‘too much’, or even the impact of screen time more broadly, therefore when deciding how long teens should be permitted to spend before their time is up, TikTok consulted the current academic research and experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Research also shows that being more aware of how we spend our time can help us be more intentional about the decisions we make. So TikTok is prompting 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.  This builds on a prompt TikTok rolled out last year to encourage teens to enable screen time management. Tests found this approach helped increase the use of our screen time tools by 234%. TikTok will also send every teen account a weekly inbox notification with a weekly recap of their screen time.

The new features build upon the existing safety settings for teen accounts, including users aged 13-15 having their accounts set to private by default and only allowing direct messaging for those aged 16 and older. To host a LIVE, community members must be at least 18.

Helping 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 the most important partners for TikTok. As they continue to innovate on how to empower families, TikTok announced the addition of three new features to Family Pairing:

– Custom daily screen time limits: Caregivers will be able to use Family Pairing to customize the daily screen time limit for their teen – including choosing different time limits depending on the day of the week – giving families more choices to match screen time to school schedules, holiday breaks, or family travel.
– Screen time dashboard: The screen time dashboard will be added to Family Pairing, 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.
– Mute notifications:  A new setting that enables parents to set a schedule to mute notifications for their teen. Accounts aged 13-15 already do not receive push notifications from 9pm and accounts aged 16-17 have push notifications disabled from 10pm.

TikTok remains focused on reaching parents with information they need about the platform’s safety features to help guide their teens and this is achieved through partnerships with creators, industry experts, and advertising campaigns focused on safety features.

New screen time controls for everyone
In addition to bringing these new features to Family Pairing, everyone will soon be able to set their own customized screen time limits for each day of the week and set a schedule to mute notifications. TikTok is also rolling out a sleep reminder to help people more easily plan when they want to be offline at night. People can set a time, and when it’s reached, a pop-up will remind them it’s time to log off.

These new features aim to help families establish an ongoing dialogue about safety and well-being in the digital world. TikTok will continue to invest in improving its current features as well as introducing new tools to help users stay in control as they express their creativity, make meaningful connections, and enjoy culture-defining entertainment.

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