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TikTok to limit access to the app to one hour per day for under-18s

The last effort to seek consensus in the western market?

TikTok to limit access to the app to one hour per day for under-18s The last effort to seek consensus in the western market?

Over the past few years, TikTok has introduced several features to protect under-18s within the app, with default settings imposing the privacy of accounts of 13-15 year olds, and the exclusivity of access to the messaging service to users under 16. In the coming weeks, TikTok will add a feature that will control how much time teens spend on the app with a passcode-locked mechanism: when the screen time reaches one hour, TikTok will block the screen, only to be unlocked by a password. According to Cormac Keenan, head of trust and security at TikTok, this method will ask kids «to make an active decision to extend that period.» For users under 13, the password will only be made available to a parent or guardian, and if inserted, it will only add an additional half-hour to the 60 minutes of content viewing time. 

«In choosing this limit, we consulted academic research and experts from the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children's Hospital,» Keenan explained, adding that it will still be possible for children 13 and older to choose to disable this new feature. Along with this addition, TikTok will send weekly screen time reports, with the aim of «encouraging young people to manage the time they spend in front of the screen,» and will institute three new parental control features, offering adults the ability to share their profile with their children, the ability to stop the app from sending notifications to their phones, and access to all the data on their online behaviour, from the number of times they have opened the app, day and night, to the amount of time spent on TikTok. Several new features are also on the way for adult users, all dedicated to the customisation of screen time limits. «Everyone will soon be able to set their own customised screen time limits for each day of the week and set a schedule to turn off notifications,» Keenan explained. 

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This new feature was announced at a difficult time for the Chinese social platform, as dozens of lawmakers in the US and other international countries are claiming that TikTok may be a tool created specifically by China to access the private information of rival states. In the US, the Presidential Congress has proposed a new legislation to President Joe Biden that would ban the use of the app under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.