Chinese short video app TikTok will introduce an automatic timer in the coming weeks that will send underage users a warning after 60 minutes. They must then enter their password to continue viewing the company reports.
With the adjustment, the social medium wants to respond to criticism that it is too addictive for young people. The young users must actively choose whether to continue watching by entering a pin code. TikTok will also send weekly overviews to teenagers, showing their total screen time. The app also advises teenagers to set a timer of 100 minutes if they find 60 minutes too little.
TikTok also refines the options for parents to limit their children’s screen time via the ‘Family Pairing’ function. Parents can also turn off the app’s push notifications to their children at specific times and get a dashboard that shows how often they have been viewed.
In China, the homeland of TikTok, the government has been taking measures to tackle addiction in young people for some time. In the Chinese version, Douyin, children under the age of 14 can already watch a maximum of 40 minutes a day, only between 6 am and 10 pm. A light version is now also coming to the worldwide variant.
As with other internet platforms, the measures are quite easy to circumvent. Young people can disable the functions or lie about their age. The minimum age for TikTok is 13 years old.