TikTok has announced new features that limits teens to 60 minutes on the app. It should help younger users spend less time on the app, but does it really? See, the thing is that TikTok made this option automatic for users under 18, which sounds cool in theory. However, the kids can easily bypass it, and even switch it off entirely.
[Related reading: Instagram quietly extends minimum daily time limit]
TikTok writes in a statement that “being more aware of how we spend our time can help us be more intentional about the decisions we make.” This is why they introduced the 60-minute daily screen time limit. “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,” TikTok writes in a statement.
For kids under 13, the daily screen time limit will also be automatically set to 60 minutes. In their case, a parent or guardian will need to set or enter an existing passcode to enable 30 minutes of additional watch time.
When they reach the 60-minute limit, kids over 13 will be prompted to enter a passcode themselves in order to continue watching. So yeah, it’s that easy to bypass the new option. They can also turn off the setting entirely, so the tool is basically pointless. Still, TikTok says that it will prompt them to set a new limit if they spend more than 100 minutes a day scrolling through the app. I guess they can set it to six hours if they want; there’s no maximum time determined. Regardless of the limit they set, TikTok will send them a weekly recap of their screen time, similar to Instagram.
The trick with this, according to TikTok, is to make teens make an active decision to extend their screen time or not. It’s easy to lose contact with reality while being bombarded with content, so this new feature basically tells the kids to snap out of it – and they get to choose whether they want to. Perhaps it’s not entirely pointless, considering that it could prompt the kids to be a bit more mindful. But if it will actually do what it’s meant to do – I don’t know. What do you think?
[via The Verge]