TikTok has launched a new screen time limit for users under 18.
On Wednesday, the social media platform announced “changes to help teens manage their time on TikTok.” Every account belonging to TikTok users under the age of 18 will soon be automatically set to a 60-minute daily screen time limit, the company said.
The default time limit for eligible accounts is expected to come in the coming weeks.
There’s still an option for teen TikTokers to continue using the app beyond the 60-minute limit — but they’ll have to enter a prompted passcode, “requiring them to make an active decision.” to extend that time,” Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety, wrote in Wednesday’s announcement.
“While there is no collectively endorsed 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 to choose this limitation,” Keenan wrote, while also citing research supported by TikTok.
In addition to growing concerns about the time teenagers spend on social media in general, TikTok’s move comes as the popular Chinese-owned app faces increased scrutiny in Washington on security concerns.
white house:Federal agencies have 30 days to remove TikTok from government-issued devices
Tik-tok, TikTok:As Biden sets deadline for social media app ban, here’s what we know
On Monday, the White House announced that federal agencies have 30 days to remove TikTok from all government-issued devices, and House Republicans are pushing for a nationwide ban. TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter called such restrictions on the social media app “little more than political theater.”
Screen time is skyrocketing among young people
The changes to TikTok’s screen limit come as experts around the world raise concerns over the increasing amount of time young people spend on screens, especially on platforms like TikTok and other social media apps, with studies focusing on the effects on physical and mental health.
Kids and screen time:How parents are coping during a prolonged pandemic
A study from Common Sense media, a nonprofit research organization, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of screen time – along with media use among tweens (defined in the study as children aged 8 to 12) and teenagers increased by 17% from 2019 to 2021.
In 2021, tweens used an average of five hours and 33 minutes of screen media per day and teenagers averaged eight hours and 39 minutes, the study said.
Screen controls for parents, caregivers
In addition to the default screen time limit, Keenan said TikTok will send each teen account a weekly recap of their screen time.
TikTok also introduced several new “Family Pairing” features, which allow parents, caregivers and their children to customize safety settings.
Among the new features, caregivers will be able to set daily screen time limits for their teens — including scheduling different time limits for specific days of the week – mute notifications for certain times of the day and use a screen time dashboard to see how much their teens are using the app.
Experts note that the needs of every family and individual are different. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends creating a family media plan to help navigate screen habits and align priorities.
Study:Teens’ screen time during COVID more than doubles outside of virtual school
What is everyone saying? Sign up for our trending newsletter to get the latest news of the day.
Beyond families and teenage users, TikTok said screen time controls will be available to everyone.
“Everyone will soon be able to set their own customized screen time limits for each day of the week and set a schedule to mute notifications,” Keenan wrote. “Additionally, we’ve released a sleep reminder to help people easily plan when they want to go offline at night. People can set a time, and when it’s reached, a pop- up will remind them that it’s time to log off.”