A new TikTok feature sends a warning to teenage users after an hour of daily screen time—but it’s easy to bypass
TikTok made an announcement this week that it will start “limiting” teenage users to just one hour of scrolling per day. The announcement came with a few other new features designed to make the app more family-friendly, but there’s just one problem: the screen time limit for teens isn’t really a limit at all—they can easily bypass it.
According to TikTok, the new feature means that app users who have identified themselves as being under 18 will start getting an automatic message when they hit one hour per day of scrolling and watching videos. To dismiss the message, all they have to do is enter a passcode. And if they really don’t want to deal with the messages at all, they can adjust their ages in the app to say they’re over 18—something teens have been doing to bypass social media restrictions for about as long as social media has existed.
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TikTok said the new feature isn’t meant to create strict screen time limits for teen users, but to encourage them to be more aware and take control of their own screen time.
“We’re also prompting teens to set a daily screen time limit if they opt out of the 60-minute default and spend more than 100 minutes on TikTok in a day,” the company said in a press release.
Along with the screen time reminders, TikTok announced new Family Pairing features that will allow parents to set screen time limits and notification muting schedules for their kids—provided the parent and teen TikTok accounts are linked. And for all users, TikTok is introducing sleep reminders to help users remember what time they want to stop scrolling and get some rest.
These new features come as TikTok continues to face pressure from lawmakers over security concerns and the app’s ties to China. TikTok is owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, and for years, lawmakers and government officials have worried about the app’s national security implications and considered bans on downloads in the U.S.