Well this came as a shock to many people. To others, it was a pleasant, and long overdue, surprise. TikTok just announced a major change in their servicing, nypost.com reported. The viral video platform is limiting screen time for their users who are under the age of eighteen. This might seem counterproductive to a company that gets paid every time a user watches their videos. But this decision isn’t about making money.
It’s about protecting the mental health of young people in our country.
And it’s about time. Recent studies are showing that young people, especially teen girls, have an unprecedented rate of depression and suicide. In 2021, a whopping third of teen girls reported having contemplated suicide. Yes, that is shocking. And the explosion of social media in the past twenty years is a huge contributor to this decline in our youth’s mental health.
And now companies like TikTok are doing something about it.
Effect immediately, TikTok will automatically limit screen time for minors to 60-minutes per day. The decision came today after social media companies are seeing increasing calls to protect our youth online. For those under 13, the limit will also be 60-minutes per day. The difference being that parents will have to enter a password to give that younger age group more time. Those between 13 and 18 can enter their own passwords to extend their daily use.
Ball’s in your court, parents.
So now it’s up to the parents to ensure that what might be a mere delay in getting more screen time is actually enforced. TikTok is doing an impressive amount of parenting themselves. In addition to the daily time limits, the company has other safeguards. One example is that they will send every teen user a report of their weekly use. In addition, any teen that spends more than 100 minutes a day on the app gets a notification. That prompt is a reminder for the teen to limit their screen time.
TikTok is also changing the schedule of their push notifications.
Currently, 13 to 15 year olds don’t receive notifications after 9pm. 16 and 17 year old users don’t get them after 10pm. But now TikTok will add new “muting” features to Family Pairing. This allows parents to customize when their child receives push notifications. So parents can mute them for earlier bedtimes or when it’s time to do homework or be in school.
The Family Pairing feature also allows parents to get reports of screen time for their kids. Including how often the app was opened and how much time was spent on it.
Research has shown numerous benefits to limiting screen time.
Including an increase in self-esteem and better decision-making. Research has also linked TikTok to shorter attention spans and an increase in ADHD in the brains of children. Numerous deaths across the globe have also been a result of TikTok “challenges” taken by young users.
The new changes will be effective immediately. Thank you, TikTok. Thank you for giving a crap about our kids.
– Wendy Rush
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