TikTok will limit minors to an hour per day… but not exactly

The social network TikTok plans to limit the time its users under the age of 18 use it to one hour a day. The measure was announced on March 1 and will be introduced in the coming weeks.

However, the restriction comes with a number of conditions that make it somewhat meaningless, at least until the parents get involved.

At first, the 60-minute limit for underage TikTok users is optional and they will be able to ignore it.

When one hour is reached, users under 18 will be required to enter a password ie. make an active decision that they want to spend more time scrolling through the videos in the app.

If a teen decides to turn off the one-hour limit and spends more than 100 minutes on TikTok per day, they’ll be prompted to set their own daily limit. In other words, it will all depend on him or her.

According to Cormac Keenan, the app’s head of trust and safety, these new restrictions are paying off.

“In our first month of testing, this approach increased usage of our screen time management tools by 234%,” he wrote in a blog post. The point is that those who tested the feature may simply have used the tools to give themselves a larger window of time for daily use.

But the innovations aren’t completely meaningless when parents are added to the equation.

Updates are coming to the Family Pairing feature, allowing a parent to link their TikTok account with their child’s and make certain settings.

Parents will be able to filter videos with certain words and hashtags that they don’t want to appear in their child’s feed.

In addition, parents themselves will be able to determine how many minutes a day their child can use TikTok and when to receive notifications from the application.

It’s only in this respect that the new features begin to look like a real concern, rather than a PR move by ByteDance – the company behind TikTok – to demonstrate that they’re making some effort to limit the screen time of under-18s.

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