Even TikTok agrees that tweens and teens spend a lot of time on TikTok and now, somewhat surprisingly, the popular social media platform is doing something about it.
In a blog post on Wednesday, the company announced a new effort to help young people manage their time on TikTok on some of the best smartphones, though it hinges on platform members telling the truth about their age.
Soon, TikTok will put a 60-minute usage limit on all users under the age of 18. For those who do and break the 100-minute barrier (who doesn’t?), TikTok will soon encourage them to set up their own screen time limit for the app.
The rules of use for those under 13 will be stricter. Once they reach the 60-minute limit, a parent or guardian will have to enter a code to regain access. There is nothing in the advertisement about how TikTok will verify the age of its users.
TikTok is pairing these new boundaries with a set of screen time management tools that it’s adding to its Family Pairing parental management feature. They include a screen time dashboard and the ability to mute notifications. The latter should help prevent TikTok phone notifications from pulling teens back into the platform.
The moves come just two days before the US celebrates National No Contact Day, an unofficial tool and holiday on social media where people of all ages are encouraged to put away gadgets and screens and relearn previous digital skills such as hobbies and time to bed without a screen and face. For the face of social interaction.
Whether or not you believe in unplugging, there is no arguing with the current and sizzling trends of screen time, especially among tweens and tweens.
A growing problem
Free time among tweens and teens has been growing for years, and it has exploded during the pandemic. The 2021 Common Sense Media Survey reported a 17% rise in media usage between 2019 and 2021. A recent study indicated that children use TikTok daily at 80 minutes per day. That’s a lot of short videos.
Parents and perhaps some overstimulated teens might welcome some screen time structure, but it’s also worth noting that TikTok’s motivations may not be entirely altruistic. The company is facing intense scrutiny from US government officials, many of whom are calling for an outright ban on TikTok. However, the concern has nothing to do with too much screen time and everything to do with TikTok’s ties to the Chinese government.
TikTok is still owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance and many fear that the Chinese government has unfettered access to TikTok data, and thus all of our activities on the platform. However, TikTok moves all of its US data to Oracle’s servers located in California. The company claims that no one in the Chinese government has access to US TikTok data.
No matter who digs into the data, there may be a bit of it soon to see whether TikTok’s screen time management efforts are working.