TikTok Plans To Set New Rules For Teenagers

TikTok is to set a default 60-minute daily time limit for all accounts held by under-18s and is developing a tool to allow parents to prevent their children from viewing content containing certain words or hashtags as the company looks to shore up its public image.

The changes come amid growing concerns among different governments around the world about the app’s security, and ability to alter its algorithm to push certain posts.
The screen limit update, announced on Wednesday, mirrors gaming rules imposed on young people in China, where TikTok’s parent company ByteDance was based before it moved to Singapore. In 2021, Chinese authorities issued new rules limiting the amount of time that minors could play online games to only an hour a day and only on Fridays, weekends and public holidays – an effort to curb internet addiction.

In the United States, families have struggled with limiting the amount of time their children spend on the Chinese-owned video-sharing app. According to the Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of American teens use TikTok.

Cormac Keenan, head of trust and safety at TikTok, said in a blog post on Wednesday that when the 60-minute limit is reached, children and teenagers will be prompted to enter a passcode and make an “active decision” to keep watching. For accounts where the user is under the age of 13, a parent or guardian will have to set or enter an existing passcode to allow 30 minutes of extra viewing time once the initial 60-minute limit is reached.

TikTok said it came up with the 60-minute threshold by consulting academic research and experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital.

It said the parental control feature, which is in the early stages, would be developed and designed in consultation with parenting, youth and civil society organisations to design the tool.

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