TikTok Unveils New Features To Limit Kids’ Screen Time

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Jason Cohen Contributor
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TikTok will soon be rolling out new features for their app aimed at enhancing young users’ digital well-being, including a screen time limit of 60 minutes per day for teenagers, according to an announcement Wednesday by Cormac Keenan, Head of Trust and Safety at TikTok.

While teens can override this limit by entering a passcode, and can even completely disable the 60-minute screen time limit, the feature is designed to force users to make an active decision in their use of the app, Keenan said in the statement. TikTok is the most used social app for both kids and teens, but has faced scrutiny for its perceived negative effects on young users’ mental health, according to TechCrunch.

A group of teens check their smartphones outside the Natural History Museum in Washington on April 8, 2015. A Pew Research Center survey released found that 92 percent of US teens go online daily. The survey of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 found that 73 percent had a smartphone and 30 percent had at least a basic cellphone. AFP PHOTO/ NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

If teens watch more than 100 minutes, they will be prompted to set a new screen time limit for themselves.

“Our tests found this helped increase the use of our screen time tools by 234%,” according to the announcement. TikTok will also send a report of weekly screen time to each teen user’s inbox.

“There’s no collectively-endorsed position on the ‘right’ amount of screen time or even the impact of screen time more broadly,” Keenan acknowledged. But they “consulted the current academic research and experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital in choosing this limit.” (RELATED: China Is Attempting To Influence US Kids By Offering An ‘Opium Version’ Of TikTok, Expert Says)

The Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, limits children under 14 to 40 minutes of screen time per day.

“For people in our under 13 experience, the daily screen time limit will also be set to 60 minutes, and a parent or guardian will need to set or enter an existing passcode to enable 30 minutes of additional watch time,” Keenan wrote.

TikTok has not stated when exactly these features will be implemented, but the statement said it will be “in the coming weeks.”

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