TikTok Limits Screen Time for Teens: What You Need to Know

TikTok, the popular social media platform, is introducing a new daily screen time limit for users under the age of 18. The change is intended to help young people manage their time on the app, and will automatically apply to all accounts belonging to users under 18 years old. The new 60-minute daily limit will prompt teens to enter a passcode in order to continue watching after reaching their limit, requiring them to make an active decision to extend their time.

But why has TikTok introduced this new policy, and what impact will it have on users? Here's everything you need to know.

TikTok Limits Screen Time for Teens: What You Need to Know

Why the 60-minute limit?

According to TikTok's head of trust and safety, Cormac Keenan, there's no "collectively-endorsed position on the 'right' amount of screen time or even the impact of screen time more broadly." However, the app drew on current academic research and consulted with experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children's Hospital to choose this limit. The company hopes that these new changes will encourage people to start talking about their "digital well-being."

Members of Generation Z spend more time online than most other age groups, including millennials. According to a 2022 report from Statista, Gen Z spends an average of three hours on social media a day alone, compared with 2.25 hours for millennials. And TikTok is the most popular social media platform for Gen Z, outpacing Instagram as well as Twitter and Snapchat.

How will the limit work?

The accounts of all TikTok users under 18 will be automatically set to the company's new 60-minute daily limit in the coming weeks. If the 60-minute limit is reached, teens will be prompted to enter a passcode in order to continue watching, requiring them to make an active decision to extend that time.

For people in TikTok's under 13 experience, the daily screen time limit will also be set to 60 minutes, and a parent or guardian will need to set or enter an existing passcode to enable 30 minutes of additional watch time.

Can users turn off the time limit?

Yes, users between the ages of 14 and 17 can go into their settings and turn off this time limit if they choose to do so. But even if the default feature is turned off, the user will be prompted to set their own daily limit once they spend more than 100 minutes (an hour and 40 minutes) on TikTok in a day.

In addition to teens, users who are above 18 will soon have the ability to add their personalized screen time limits, if they want, within the app. Operating systems on top phone brands like Apple and Google also allow for users to set app device-specific limits.

Do other social media companies have limits?

As recently as 2022, Instagram had daily time limits for its app that users could set up themselves, but it has since removed the feature. Snapchat has its own version of time limits within its parental-control features, and so does YouTube.

Why are some governments banning TikTok?

The news from TikTok comes as several U.S. federal agencies have banned the app from government devices, and more than half of all U.S. states have banned TikTok from government-issued mobile devices. Canada has also banned the app from government devices. The move comes amid broader concerns about spying and potential data theft from China.

What should parents know about their child's TikTok use?

Parents should be aware of the new daily screen time limit for teens and discuss with their children the importance of managing their digital well-being. It's also important for parents to monitor their child's TikTok use and set appropriate boundaries to ensure their child's safety
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