TikTok has announced that its users under the age of 18 will soon have a one-hour daily screen time limit — a feature that will roll out in the coming weeks.
What seems to be a radical decision from the company, could be the most direct push a social media app has made to limit teenagers’ screen time.
However, teens will still have the option to disable the limitation. If the 60-minute limit is reached, users can continue using TikTok by entering a passcode. Although this option may not be as effective as initially thought, it does force users to stop and think, consciously deciding whether to surpass the app’s 60-minute daily limit.
If they actively decide to surpass the time limit, teens must comply by setting a daily time limit for themselves. According to TikTok data, this approach increased the use of the app’s screen time management tools by 234% in the first month of testing.
The company consulted research done by the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital before implementing a screen-time limit for users under 18.
"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 recognize that teens typically require extra support as they start to explore the online world independently," said Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety.
TikTok has also announced updates to its Family Pairing Feature. Parents can now filter videos their children can watch by selecting words or hashtags they do not want appearing in their teen’s feed. They can also set custom schedules that mute TikTok notifications and daily time limits for their teen’s account.