TikTok will roll out a 60-minute daily screen time limit on all accounts whose users are under the age of 18 in the coming weeks as it faces growing scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers to improve safety on its platform.
“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,” Tiktok head of trust and safety Cormac Keenan said in a blog post on Wednesday. “We’re also 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.”
Additionally, TikTok will send every teen account a weekly inbox notification with a recap of their screen time and give parents and caregivers the ability to set daily screen time limits, access a screentime dashboard and mute notifications. Accounts aged 13 to 15 already do not receive push notifications from 9 p.m. and accounts aged 16 to 17 have push notifications disabled from 10 p.m. on.
“Every teen is different, and so is every family. That’s why we remain focused on reaching parents with the information they need about TikTok,” Keenan added. “We’ll continue to invest in improving our current features as well as introducing new tools to help people stay in control as they express their creativity, make meaningful connections, and enjoy culture-defining entertainment.”
According to a Pew Research Center survey of American teenagers ages 13 to 17 in August, about 67% of respondents said they use TikTok, with 16% of all teens saying they use it almost constantly. The app’s popularity has rocketed since its North American debut in September 2016 and was the most downloaded app in the United States in October 2018.
The latest move comes as a response to growing concerns of the social media platform’s effects on its youngest users. More than a year ago, various executives from social media platforms, including TikTok, answered questions from app regulators and lawmakers during congressional hearings on how their platforms might negatively impact young users. Since then, the platform has worked to create updates focused on minor safety.