Popular video-sharing app TikTok is introducing a new feature that sets a 60-minute daily screen time limit for users who are under 18 years old. Should users exceed the time limit, they will need to enter a passcode to continue using the app that day. However, they can choose to opt out of the limit.
TikTok’s prompt last year to encourage teens to manage their screen time reportedly resulted in a 234% increase in the use of its screen time tools. The platform currently requires users to be at least 13 years old and those under 18 will receive weekly notifications of their screen time recap.
Parents who use the Family Pairing option can also set screen time limits and access an app usage dashboard. The move was met with mixed reactions, with some critics saying that it is just the “tip of the iceberg” and calling on TikTok to focus on cleaning up feeds of harmful content.
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Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which recently published research showing TikTok’s algorithm “bombards” teenagers with harmful content, welcomed the screen time limit but described it as the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to TikTok’s response to young users’ exposure to the platform.
According to Ahmed, “TikTok has won the race for the hearts and minds of 14 to 24-year-olds in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is the crack cocaine of algorithms. It is the most addictive, it is the most dangerous and the one that needs to be dealt with most urgently”.