TikTok announces screen time limits for minors


Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

In a recent statement, TikTok announced new features that would limit the amount of time teens spend on the app.

Aliyah Walker, Staff Writer

TikTok announced new features that would limit the amount of time teens spend on the app on  March 1. 

TikTok’s Head of Trust and Safety Cormac Keenan shared that the app would enforce a new 60-minute daily screen limit for users under 18 within the coming weeks.

“If the 60-minute limit is reached, teens will be prompted to enter a passcode in order to continue watching,” Keenan said in a statement.

The announcement came two days after the White House Office of Management and Budget released a memorandum giving executive workers and federal agencies 30 days to uninstall applications owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance Limited, including TikTok.

In 2020, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. began a national security review on the app under the Trump Administration. However, Former President Trump’s push to ban the app was short-lived after a federal judge blocked the attempt.

More recently, the topic has reemerged with the Biden Administration threatening to ban the app in America if ByteDance does not sell ownership of their company. Officials fear that the company could represent a threat to federal security.

More than 100 million Americans use TikTok, with almost 33% of those users falling between the ages of 10-19.

“For people under 13… a parent or guardian will need to set or enter an existing passcode to enable 30 minutes of additional watch time,” Keenan said.

The new features are part of TikTok’s initiative to help make a more thoughtful and intentional environment within their application. Keenan stated that the company worked alongside Boston Children’s Hospital’s Digital Wellness Lab to develop the new screen time feature.

“Research shows that being more aware of how we spend our time can help us be more intentional about the decisions we make,” Keenan said.

Keenan urged parents to utilize the new features and encourage their children to be more aware of their screen time through their existing parental controls program, Family Pairing.

Along with the new screen limits, TikTok announced three additional features to Family Pairing:

  • Custom screen time limits, which can be set by parents and/or guardians.
  • A screen time dashboard that provides users with the amount of time they have spent on the app, the number of times the app was opened and a comparison between daytime and nighttime usage.
  • A feature to allow parents and guardians the ability to schedule when notifications are muted on their child’s app. 

Among the new features TikTok announced, the app will also begin sending weekly screen time recap notifications to all of its users.

“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,” Keenan said..