With TikTok’s increasing popularity among teens, the social media platform is moving to implement a family safety mode as parents raise concerns over increased screentime on the app in the UK.
While previous claims asserted that 41% of TikTok users were between the ages of 16 and 24, UK media regulator Ofcom found TikTok was used by 13% of all children aged 12-15 in 2019.
The social-networking platform lets kids create short music and lip-sync videos of three to 15 seconds and short looping videos of three to 60 seconds and has garnered popularity in the teen community. However, as the target audience becomes younger, TikTok is moving to incorporate ways for parents to control young users’ mobile-use habits.
A TikTok Spokesperson told Parentology their highest priority is to keep their community safe. TikTok has taken other precautions around the world when it comes to their app-usage. While the app has other measures for the US, — TikTok for Younger Users and TikTok’s “You’re in Control” safety video series — the UK is getting “Family Safety Mode.”
“In the United States, we have a limited experience for younger users that incorporates additional safety and privacy protections designed specifically for this audience, and we recently released in-feed screen time reminders to help our users manage their digital time,” a TikTok spokesperson said. “For teens and parents, we offer a number of in-app controls like privacy settings and comment controls, as well as a restricted viewing mode.
The spokesperson added, “In addition, we are working with organizations like ConnectSafely and the Family Online Safety Institute to create resources to help families manage their experience.”
TikTok’s ‘You’re in Control’ Safety Video Series
Last month, TikTok released a video series to address the screentime concerns users — mostly, their parents — were having. TikTok partnered with several top creators, such as @jameshenry, @gabe, @alanchikinchow, and @cosette, to make short videos that encourage users to be mindful of their screentime. These upbeat videos appear right on the app and inspire users to take a break and enjoy life offline.
If users need more encouragement, they can control their screen time on the ‘Screen Time Management’ setting in the app. The screen time management reminders are TikTok’s latest addition to their “You’re in Control” safety video series.
How to Use TikTok’s ‘Family Safety Mode’
Parents who have their own TikTok accounts — or could create one for this purpose — can link their account to their child’s, giving them direct control over the safety settings.
To do this, adults must open the app on both phones, head to the “Digital Wellbeing” settings, and identify which phone belongs to them, and which belongs to the child.
Scanning a QR code from one phone to the other links the accounts, and lets the parent protect certain features with a passcode.
That means the adult’s phone can control the settings for:
- Restricted mode which tries to hide content that may be inappropriate.
- Messages, which can be limited to friends — or turned off completely.
- Screentime controls, putting a hard limit on how long the app can be used each day.