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TikTok introduces parental controls

As TikTok’s usage continues to skyrocket amongst Gen Z, so have safety concerns from parents, particularly regarding potential exposure to unsuitable content on the platform and via its private messaging feature. To address some of these concerns, the platform has announced the introduction of a new set of parental controls called ‘Family Safety Mode’. The feature is designed to let parents set limits on their teen’s usage of the app, including controlling how much time their teens are able to spend on the app, turning off or limiting who the teen can direct message and also turning on the ‘restricted’ mode which limits the visibility of inappropriate content. However, in order to set this up, parents will have to create their own TikTok account and then link this directly to their teen’s account – only then will they be able to activate the safety features. Whilst these controls already exist within the app for regular users, once this linking of accounts is complete, the secondary account will not be able to activate or deactivate these controls. 

Given that roughly 60% of the app’s user base are Gen Z, it’s unsurprising that TikTok as a platform has been forced to weather a few storms regarding safety and privacy concerns. What’s particularly interesting about this new feature is that the teens linked account will almost become secondary to the parent’s given that only the parent is able to control access to direct messaging. This could be a great way for parents to help their children stay safe online as social networks often pose dangers of harassment, grooming and bullying – with much of this behaviour taking place through direct messaging. We’re happy to see a platform enable the functionality within the app to help young users stay safe online, instead of just releasing a guide that people may not see. We do have questions, however, over whether teens will want to link their accounts to their parent’s and whether this will turn people off from using the feature. We haven’t jumped on the TiKTok wave yet, but we just might soon.