In an effort to reduce criticism about teens’ endlessly scrolling, Chinese giant TikTok announced that every account belonging to a minor will automatically be set to a 60-minute daily screen time limit in the coming weeks.
Once kids hit that one-hour mark, they’ll be prompted to enter a passcode in order to keep watching. This will create a sort of barrier to endless scrolling and bolster the digital well-being of young users according to TikTok
Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety, said that the company consulted researchers and experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital to decide the time limits to set for teen users. He added, “While there’s no collectively-endorsed position on how much screen time is ‘too much’, or even the impact of screen time more broadly, we recognize that teens typically require extra support as they start to explore the online world independently.”
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According to TikTok, once users between 13 and 18 reach the one-hour time limit, they will be prompted to enter a self-set passcode to unlock extra time. While this is an easy workaround, TikTok says that it will force teen users to make an active decision in their content consumption. For users under 13, a parent or guardian must set the passcode.
The feature is set to roll out “in the coming weeks,” but no specific date has been given.
The development comes at a time when TikTok, as well as other social media platforms, have been facing scrutiny over the impact of prolonged usage of such platforms, especially on young users. Further, TikTok’s parent company is also facing pressure from the US government and others over concerns about security because of the company’s ties in China.
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