TikTok sets automatic one-hour screen time limit for teens
Canada bans TikTok from federal government devices.
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TikTok said Wednesday it will implement an automatic 60-minute screen-time limit for all users under the age of 18.
When the 60-minute limit is reached, teens will be prompted to enter a passcode to continue watching videos on the social media app, “requiring them to make an active decision” to keep scrolling, the company said.
Teenagers will be able to opt out of the feature if they want, but TikTok said the app will prompt them to set a limit if they spend “more than 100 minutes on TikTok in a day.”
TikTok is taking steps to curb screen time for its younger users as it stares down growing scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers over its security and the safety of children on the platform. A study from the Pew Research Center last August found 67% of American teenagers used TikTok, with 16% of all teens saying they used it “constantly.”
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before the House Energy and Commerce committee later this month, as the U.S. subsidiary of China-based ByteDance faces both a national security probe and increased scrutiny in the wake of successive controversies, including revelations that employees spied on journalists and accessed U.S. users’ data.
The social media platform said it is working hard to increase outreach to parents as part of an ongoing effort to “bring joy and play a positive role in how people express themselves,” according to a press statement.
“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,” the company’s head of trust and safety, Cormac Keenan, said in a statement.
The company is also introducing an option to mute notifications on a scheduled basis, a feature that the company said is already implemented to varying degrees for users aged 13 to 17.
TikTok’s features are largely in-app implementations of existing features for iOS and Android users. Apple‘s iOS allows users to set restrictions on app usage and schedule notification activity through its Focus mode and Screen Time functionality; on Google’s Android operating system, users can control app activity through the Digital Wellbeing menu.
TikTok parent ByteDance is facing a probe from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, also known as CFIUS, over national security concerns. The probe has been underway for years, since ByteDance acquired Musical.ly in 2017, but has accelerated in both scope and outside scrutiny in recent months.