TikTok launches one-hour time limit for teens, but it’s easy to bypass

  • TikTok has announced a new one-hour screen time limit for teens, among other controls.
  • The app also extends parental control features that filter the type of videos minors watch.
  • A bill that would ban TikTok in the US was proposed by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

Underage users of TikTok will soon be limited in the amount of time they can scroll on the app, thanks to a new automatic setting implemented for under-18s.

In a blog post published on Wednesday, TikTok announced that it is making “changes to help teens manage their time on TikTok” in the coming weeks. Although the setting can be turned off, teens will automatically be prompted to enter a password when they reach the 60-minute limit.

Teen TikTokers will also receive a weekly recap of their usage time in their app inbox. The new launch has tested well for the company, which saw a 234% increase in use of the Screen Time tools in the first month, according to the blog post.

“While there is no collectively validated position on the ‘right’ amount of screen time or even the impact of screen time more broadly, we consulted current academic research and experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital in choosing this limit” , Cormac stated. Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and security, wrote in the blog post.

TikTok also announced updates to its Family Pairing feature that will allow a parent or guardian to link their account to their teen’s TikTok and set parental controls. The controls will allow for filtering videos with specific words or hashtags from their child’s For You page and setting a customizable schedule that would mute TikTok notifications.

The app, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has proven particularly popular among Gen Z users. In September, Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan said that nearly 40% of young people use TikTok instead of Google when looking for recommendations for restaurants.

Despite TikTok’s popularity among those born after 1996, the screen time limits may not be enough for US lawmakers seeking to ban the app outright due to security concerns about giving China access to user data. The US Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted in favor of a bill that would give President Joe Biden the power to ban TikTok, according to a CNBC report.

Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, sponsor of the act to ban TikTok, called the app “digital fentanyl,” Insider’s Brian Metzger reported last week.

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