TikTok Planning New Parental Controls

Parents will get a new Family Safety Mode and Screentime Management

What: TikTok announced its plans to add Parental Controls to its hit viral video app.

How: Parents will be able to link to their children’s TikTok accounts to manage screen time and content.

Why Do You Care: Whether you’re a parent excited by the prospect of some more control or a teen horrified by it, privacy and security will continue to be a focus of big apps like TikTok.

Person using TIkTok on an iPhone
Original Image: do you mockup

TikTok, the hit social and viral video app, announced on its UK news page that it would be adding the ability for parents to better manage their kids’ experience with the app.

The new Family Safety Mode will link a parent TikTok account to that of their child, letting the parent then control features that have previously been standalone Digital Wellbeing features. You’ll be able to set the amount of time your teenager spends on the app, who can send direct messages (or if anyone can at all), and even restrict certain types of content from appearing on your kids’ screen via the app.

This isn’t a new focus for TikTok, as they’ve previously partnered with popular TIkTok creators to make videos that appear right in users’ feeds, urging them to take breaks and manage their screen time on their own. This is, however, the first foray into letting parents manage those features from their own accounts.

It’s likely the company isn’t doing this as part of its own moral code. As TechCrunch points out, the FTC fined TikTok’s parent company (ByteDance) in 2019 for previous app Musical.ly’s violation of US children’s privacy law, while TikTok itself has been under investigation in the UK around possible GDPR violations in the area of children’s data protection.

Ultimately, it’s going to be up to families to manage their children’s access to apps like this, along with all the potential content it can represent. Tech solutions may not be perfect, but they’re a start.

TikTok’s Family Safety Mode and Screentime Management in Feed features are available now in the UK, with a roll out to other markets “in the coming weeks.”

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