TikTok sets new default time limits for minors | Business and Economic News

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The changes come amid growing concerns around the world about the security of the app and its ability to push certain content.

TikTok has said that all accounts held by users under the age of 18 will have a standard 60-minute daily screen time limit in the coming weeks. The changes arrive at a time where concerns are growing among various governments about the security of the application and the ability to change its algorithm to push certain posts.

The update, announced Wednesday, also mirrors gaming rules imposed on minors in China, where TikTok’s parent company ByteDance was previously based. He has since moved to Singapore. In 2021, Chinese authorities issued new regulations limiting the time minors could play online games to just one hour a day and only on Fridays, weekends and holidays. public days – an effort to prevent internet addiction.

In the United States, families have struggled to limit the time their children spend on the Chinese-based video sharing app. According to the Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of American teenagers use TikTok.

Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety, said in a blog post on Wednesday that when the 60-minute limit is reached, minors will be asked to enter a passcode and make an “active decision” to keep watching. For accounts where the user is under the age of 13, a parent or guardian must set or enter a custom passcode to allow 30 minutes of additional viewing time once the first 60-minute limit.

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.

There have long been concerns about what young people are discovering on social media and the harm it can do. A report published late last year suggested that TikTok algorithms are promoting videos about self-harm and eating disorders to vulnerable teenagers. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook parent Meta, has also faced similar allegations.

Social media algorithms work by identifying topics and content that a user is interested in, which is then posted more of the same as a way to increase their time on the site. But critics of social media say the same algorithms that promote content about a particular sports team, hobby or dance sport can send users down a rabbit hole of harmful content.

User Limits

TikTok also said Wednesday that it will begin forcing teens to set a daily screen time limit if they opt out of the 60-minute norm. The company will send weekly inbox notifications to teen accounts with a summary of screen time.

Some of TikTok’s current safety features for teen accounts include making accounts private by default for those between the ages of 13 and 15 and providing direct messages to those accounts where the user is 16 or older.

TikTok announced several changes for all users, including the ability to set custom screen time limits for each day of the week and allow users to set a schedule to cancel 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’s time to log out.

Outside of extreme use by some small children, there is growing concern about the app around the world. The European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union 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 TikTok from government tools.

US House Republicans are pushing a bill that would give President Joe Biden the ability to ban the app nationwide, which has drawn opposition from some civil liberties groups who argue that such a move would -statutory The legislation passed the Republican-controlled House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday along party lines. The bill still needs to get a vote on the floor of the House and Senate.

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