Popular video app Tik Tok offers parents the possibility to determine what their children see on the platform
- The video app has added new protection to prevent young users from abusing
- New mid-feed prompts also advise users to spend time off the screen
- Last week the government gave Ofcom extra power to regulate social media
TikTok, the video sharing app, has introduced new features that give parents more control over the content they see in their child’s feed.
Starting today, Family Safety Mode helps parents and caregivers keep their teenagers safe on the platform by linking a parent’s account to their child’s account.
Parents can use the system to determine how long children spend on TikTok every day, restrict or disable direct messages, and reject potentially inappropriate content.
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TikTok has already been shot at by a children’s charity because of the live streaming that allows everyone to watch children’s videos (file photo)
Meanwhile, Screentime Management in Feed, another protective measure, leaves clues in the feeds of users who advise them to spend time off the screen.
The Chinese-owned video sharing app, which allows users to create short lip-synchronizing clips to share with their followers, is especially popular with children.
The company said the changes are intended to help users “have a healthy relationship with online apps and services.”
“When people use TikTok, we know they are expecting an experience that is fun, authentic and safe,” said Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety in Europe.
“As part of our commitment to safety, the well-being of our users is incredibly important to us.
“We want people to enjoy TikTok, but it is also important for our community to ensure their well-being, which means they have a healthy relationship with online apps and services.”
Family Safety mode and Screentime Management in Feed will be available to TikTok users in the UK from Wednesday and will be introduced to other markets in the coming weeks.
The company said it also collaborated with content creators to develop new videos for screen time management.
With Tik Tok, users can stream live or create music videos and GIFs to share with their followers
The changes come a week after the British government has announced that the communications watchdog will charge Ofcom to regulate social media sites such as TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat.
The government said Ofcom will be given new powers to regulate social media companies in the UK, including ensuring that they have systems to “fulfill a duty of care” to keep their users safe.
Ofcom will hold companies to account if they do not tackle internet damage such as the sexual exploitation of children and abuse and terrorism.
TikTok, intended for anyone over the age of 13, has previously been blamed for an increase in the sexual exploitation of young people online.
It is worrying that anyone can follow a different TikTok account unless it is set to private.
Last year, the charity of children warned Barnado about ‘sophisticated trimmers’ who contact children through the TikTok’s live commentary functions and engage them in sexual behavior.
A YouGov survey conducted on behalf of the charity in 2018 also showed that many minor children stream live to their followers.
TikTok, which has received 500 million active users in the three years since its launch in 2016, has since set an age limit of 18 years and older for users who can purchase, send or receive virtual gifts to protect the feature against misuse.
It has also published its first transparency report and established a European headquarters for security.
The company is following the leadership of Facebook, which added new parental controls to Facebook Messenger earlier this month.
As part of the changes, parents on Facebook Messenger can now see who their child is chatting in the app and view their recent photos.
WHAT IS TIK TOK?
TikTok is a Chinese social media app where users can stream live, create short videos and music videos and GIFs with numerous functions.
The slogan of TikTok is “Let every second count.”
It was the most downloaded app in the US in 2018 and the world’s fourth most downloaded app in 2018, before Instagram and Snapchat.
TikTok is known in China as Douyin, where it was launched in 2016 and then made more widely available worldwide in 2017.
Douyin is still the version of the app used in China and can be downloaded separately to TikTok.
The app has been merged with the popular music video lip synchronizing app Musical.ly, also with its headquarters in China.
Most children use the app to synchronize themselves with lip synchronization to map hits.
It offers users a range of colorful modification and editing tools, including overlapping music, sound, animated stickers, filters, and augmented reality (AR) for creating short videos.
The Beijing-based social network has more than 500 million active users and the company is now worth more than $ 75 billion (£ 58 billion).