Social media giant tick tock announced on Wednesday that screen time for users under 18 would be limited to just 60 minutes a day.
By default, you will need to enter a passcode to continue scrolling through the app after the set time has elapsed, but teens can opt out of this feature if they choose.
And profiles owned by users between the ages of 13 and 15 will also be automatically set as private.
Chinese company is also configured to give parents and guardians more control by allowing them to turn off their kids’ app notifications at certain times of the day.
TikTok has not confirmed an exact date for the rollout of the new features, but has confirmed that it will happen “in the coming weeks.”
TikTok is implementing a default setting that limits minors’ screen time to 60 minutes each day.
The new settings will also allow parents to turn off app notifications for their teens, with users aged 13-15 not receiving notifications from 9pm and users aged 16-17 from 10pm.
TikTok has been surrounded by controversy due to multiple US states, lawmakers and government agencies banning the app due to claims that “it collects a lot of sensitive data”.
However, the app is very popular among teens, with a Pew Research Center study last August showing that 67% of American teens use TikTok, and 16% of all teens said they were “always” on the app.
And those numbers may have been the motive for Wednesday’s announcement.
Along with limited screen time, direct messaging will only be available to those over 16, and users must now be at least 18 to post live video.
A Screen Time bar is also being introduced, which gives a breakdown of the total time spent on TikTok day and night.
Parents and guardians can set up a daily time limit for their children with TikTok Family Connect, which was launched in 2020.
This feature allows them to set different time limits based on the day of the week, allowing families to account for schedules and vacations.
However, adults can now disable in-app notifications for their teens.
Users aged 13 to 15 will receive nothing from 21:00, and users aged 16 to 17 will receive nothing from 22:00.
Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety, said: “Today we’re announcing new features for teens, families, and our wider community.
“We believe digital experiences should be fun and play a positive role in how people express themselves, find ideas and communicate.
“We’re improving our Screen Time tool by adding more customizable options, introducing new default settings for teen accounts, and expanding family pairing with additional parental controls.”
According to the National Center for Sexual Exploitation, the movement to limit underage screen time is due to TikTok being criticized for “failing to protect children from harm.”
They also run a sleep reminder to help schedule when users want to be offline at night, with a pop-up notification to remind them it’s time to log out.
TikTok executives consulted with the Digital Health Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital in deciding the limit.
They also suggest that teens set their own daily screen time limit if they ditch the default 60-minute setting and spend more than 100 minutes on the app each day.
In the statement, they added that they will be sending each teen account a weekly inbox notification with a summary of their screen time.
In addition to rolling out new features to Family Pairing, the app will also allow anyone using the app to set their own time limits for each day.
Tik Tok is also releasing a sleep reminder to help schedule when users want to be offline at night, with a pop-up notification to remind them it’s time to log out.
Movement to restrict screen time for minors comes as TikTok has been criticized for “failing to protect children from harm,” according to data National Center for Sexual Exploitation.
TikTok has not confirmed when the features will launch, but said “in the coming weeks.”
In April 2022, the group released a statement saying that the app is a “magnet for sexual predators”.
According to the National Center for Sexual Exploitation, TikTok has become known as a “hunting ground” for predators.
“The platform has given predators easy access to courtship, abuse and child trafficking.”
“Exploiters use TikTok to view underage users, comment on videos, and send messages to children where they frequently request or send videos or images of a sexual nature.”
Other concerns have been raised by parents who are concerned that the app is giving children access to content that would otherwise be banned in their homes.
This includes popular music with swear words and sexual lyrics that are not suitable for persons under 18 years of age.