TikTok is most definitely having a moment. The short-form video social media app has skyrocketed from a lip-syching site frequented only by teenagers, to a meme-tastic app that’s keeping people whimsical and socially connected during the seriousness of the Covid crisis, and is now being used by millennial parents and above, as well as their kids.
But with increasing awareness and popularity comes an increase in the different types of content and, while TikTok’s new safety features are designed to help parents monitor what their older children are exposed to while using it, if you browse the app yourself (and let’s face it, our kids are never far away at the moment), or create content yourself that features your younger children, you might want to make use of these settings too.
The Family Pairing settings, which will be rolling out over the coming weeks, will allow a parent to link their TikTok account to their child's and set controls including:
- Screen Time Management:
Screen Time Management is a feature launched by TikTok to help people set limits for how long they spend on TikTok each day, and now Middle East users will start to see Screen Time Management videos in feed. TikTok has partnered with some of its most followed and loved creators in the region to create these engaging videos reminding the online community to have a healthy relationship with online apps. For example, Bayan Abu Hashmah (@bayan.dxb), is encouraging her followers to put their phones down and read a book to relax while Tala Al Sabeh (@tala.sb3) is showing how staying on your phone too long could affect your health in a fun way. Finally, artists Badereddin Saleh Elkhatib (@llunr) and Mohamad Zeineddine (@moezeindtb) created songs to bring these messages across. These videos are also available and accessible through the @TikTokArab account.
- Restricted Mode: Restrict the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all audiences. Even without Family Pairing enabled, parents can help their teen set Screen Time Management and Restricted Mode by visiting the app's Digital Wellbeing controls at any time.
- Direct Messages: Limit who can send messages to the connected account, or turn off direct messaging completely. With user safety in mind, starting April 30, direct messages will be automatically disabled for registered accounts belonging to children under the age of 16.
TikTok also encourages parents to talk with their teens about the code of conduct outlined in its Community Guidelines to help them understand what responsible community behaviour looks like, how to identify and report content that may be in violation, and what it means to be positive digital community members.
Additional TikTok safety tips can also be found via the #tiktoksafetytips hashtag.