TikTok Is Helping Reduce Screen Time For Families And We Can All Benefit TBH

Yes, the social media platform actually wants you *off* your phone

In a world where ‘screen time’ has become a dirty word, TikTok has decided to put wellness first by introducing a suite of features that help get all of us to put down our phones.

It’s not the first time TikTok has gone the health-first route, after it banned vids that encourage tanning last year. Now, the social media giant has implemented improved screen time controls, with more custom options, the introduction of new default settings for teens’ accounts, and an expansion of their ‘Family Pairing’ feature to give parents more control – which, let’s be real, has got to be a huge sigh of relief for carers of teens everywhere.

“We believe digital experiences should bring joy and play a positive role in how people express themselves, discover ideas, and connect,” shares Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s Head of Trust and Safety.

“We’ll continue to invest in improving our current features as well as introducing new tools to help people stay in control as they express their creativity, make meaningful connections, and enjoy culture-defining entertainment.”

So what are these new TikTok features then?

The new features have been created with teens, families and the broader community in mind, but frankly, the benefits of cutting down on screen time are clear for all of us and I, for one, am excited about a social platform that wants to help us reduce the mindless scrolling.

A child wearing jeans and a black jumper with purple and pink fluffy adornments holds a phone, looking at the TikTok logo.

So how do these new features work, exactly? To help teens manage their TikTok time, the platform is putting into place a 60-minute daily screen time limit for accounts belonging to anyone under the age of 18. “While there’s no collectively endorsed position on the ‘right’ amount of screen time or even the impact of screen time more broadly, we consulted the current academic research and experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital in choosing this limit,” explains Keenan. “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.”

Sure, they can override this function – but if they turn off the default limit and spend more than 100 minutes on TikTok in a day, they’ll be prompted to set their own limit – because “research also shows that being more aware of how we spend our time can help us be more intentional about the decisions we make”.

An iPhone showing TikTok's platform on the screen, displaying the page with information about daily screen time being set to 1 hour.

Okay, cool, but what about those kiddos who aren’t super-keen on limits or self-discipline or all those things teens aren’t generally known for (god love ’em)? Well, parents and caregivers can set and adjust limits for their kids, plus a new screen time dashboard allows the adults to see things like how many times a day the app was opened, total time spent during the day and night, and to mute notifications at certain times (hello, dinnertime sans phone dinging!).

“In addition to bringing these new features to Family Pairing, everyone will soon be able to set their own customised screen time limits for each day of the week and set a schedule to mute notifications,” adds Keenan, because a digital detox is never a bad idea. But wait, there’s more! (No, it’s not a free set of Ginsu knives.) TikTok is also rolling out a sleep reminder pop-up to help people switch off before bed time. Winner!

Source @womenshealth.com.au: Read more at : womenalive.org

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