What Do Parents Need to Know About the New TikTok Time Limits?
The news that TikTok is introducing new limits on screen time for younger users has opened the debate about teenagers and smartphone usage once again. What are the key points in this subject that parents should understand?
The Need for Time Limits
This is not the first time that the amount of screen time for youngsters has been in the news. ExpressVPN's survey carried out in the US, and the UK revealed that half of all children use social media, spending an average time of 28 minutes per day on these platforms. The average daily time spent on social media increases with age, from 21 minutes for four-year-olds to 45 minutes daily at the age of 13.
In terms of the number of minors watching TikTok, this app has been beating YouTube on a global basis since mid-2020. Viewers between the ages of four and 18 watched an average of 82 minutes on TikTok in 2022, compared to 75 minutes on YouTube, with the gap widening all the time. TikTok also came out ahead of all other video apps and social media apps for this age group.
How Are the Time Limits Managed?
The new controls to manage the time spent on TikTok apply to all users under the age of 18. However, it’s been set up to act as more of a suggestion for teenagers rather than as a firm control. This is because the system will block minors once they reach a total of 60 minutes in a day. However, if they opt to carry on, the next checkpoint arrives when they get to 100 minutes.
Once they get to the 100-hour limit, a password is needed if they want to carry on using the app.
For users under the age of 13, the passcode needs to be entered by a parent or guardian.
However, older children can create their own passcode and carry on using TikTok. They'll also receive updates each week that let them see how long they’re spending on the app and more information on their viewing habits.
Will These Measures Work?
With no clear consensus on how long is acceptable, some parents may consider 100 minutes a day to be too much time, while others might be more relaxed about going over this limit. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests various useful tips for managing the screen time of younger family members according to their ages.
Rather than looking at it as a definitive measure to limit youngsters to a suitable amount of screen time, perhaps we should consider Tiktok’s latest measures simply as a step in the right direction. This could be something that stimulates more debate around the subject and leads to similar measures being introduced by other social media companies.
We can expect to hear a lot more about the limiting of social media screen time among younger users as more parents become aware of the need for action and technology companies are forced to act.