TikTok screen time limit: 60-minute restriction for under 18s explained - can you opt out?
TikTok is adding screen time limit for teenage users - but they can opt out of it
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TikTok will be introducing a 60-minute daily screen time limit for users under the age of 18 - but it can be easily circumvented.
Young people will be able to enter a passcode to extend their usage of the app once they hit the limit. Users will also be able to opt out of the new controls entirely.
TikTok says that the screen time limit will be rolled out in the “coming weeks”. The changes arrive during a period in which there are growing concerns among different governments about the app’s security.
Families have struggled with limiting the amount of time their children spend on the video-app, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance. TikTok launched in the west in 2018 and had been downloaded by more than 2 billion mobile users by October 2020.
TikTok announced the screen time limit in a blog post on Wednesday (1 March). Here is all you need to know:
When will the measures begin?
The exact date that the screen time limit is rolled out to younger users has not been confirmed. But TikTok has said that it will be in the “coming weeks”.
Can young people opt out of the TikTok limit?
Users will be able to decide to opt out of the new measures. But if they exceed 100 minutes a day, TikTok will send them a prompt urging them to set their own screen time controls.
Young people who accept the measures will be able to extend their time on TikTok beyond the 60-minute limit, they will be prompted to enter a passcode receive a passcode and make an “active decision” to keep watching. The company will send weekly inbox notifications to teen accounts with a screen time recap.
For accounts where the user is under the age of 13, a parent or guardian will have to set or enter an existing passcode to allow 30 minutes of extra viewing time once the initial 60-minute limit is reached. Parents of children using the Family Pairing option on the app will be able to set screen time controls, as well as access a dashboard giving a breakdown of their children’s usage of the app.
Why is TikTok introducing screen time limits?
TikTok said it came up with the 60-minute threshold by consulting academic research and experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. Social media executives, including those from TikTok, have been called before US Congress to explain how they are preventing harm for young users.
Some of TikTok’s existing safety features for teenagers’ accounts include having accounts set to private by default for those between the ages of 13 and 15 and providing direct messaging availability only to those accounts where the user is 16 or older.
Outside exorbitant use by some minors, there are growing concern about the app around the world. The European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU Council have banned TikTok from being installed on official devices.
That follows similar actions taken by the US federal government, Congress and more than half of the 50 US states. Canada has also banned it from government devices.
What other measures are TikTok adding?
TikTok announced a number of changes for all users, including the ability to set customised screen time limits for each day of the week and allowing users to set a schedule to mute notifications. The company is also launching a sleep reminder to help people plan when they want to be offline at night.
For the sleep feature, users will be able to set a time and when the time arrives, a pop-up will remind the user that it is time to log off.