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TikTok to set default daily time limit of up to 60 minutes for minors

TikTok said on Wednesday that any user’s account under the age of 18 will have a default daily screen time limit of 60 minutes in the coming weeks. The changes come at a time when there are growing concerns among several governments about the security of the app.

Families are struggling to limit the amount of time their children spend on the Chinese video-sharing app.

Cormac Keenan, head of trust and security at TikTok, said in a blog post Wednesday that when the 60-minute limit is reached, minors will be asked to enter an access code to make an “active decision” to keep watching. For accounts whose users are under the age of 13, a parent or guardian must set or enter an existing passcode to allow an additional 30 minutes of viewing time once the initial 60-minute limit is reached.

TikTok said it came to the 60-minute threshold by consulting academic research and experts at the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Social media executives, including those from TikTok, have been called before Congress to explain how they prevent harm to young users.

TikTok also said on Wednesday it would also prompt teens to set a daily screen time limit if they opt out of the standard 60-minute time. The company sends weekly inbox notifications to teen accounts with a summary of screen time.

Some of TikTok’s existing security features for teen accounts include accounts defaulting to private for people between the ages of 13 and 15, and direct messages are only available for accounts where the user is 16 or older.

TikTok has announced a number of changes for all users, including the ability to set custom screen time limits for each day of the week and allow users to set a schedule to mute notifications. The company is also launching a sleep reminder to help people schedule when they want to be offline at night. For the sleep function, users can set a time and when the time comes, a pop-up will remind the user that it is time to log out.

Aside from overuse by some minors, there are growing concerns about the app worldwide. The European Parliament, European Commission and EU Council have banned the installation of TikTok on official devices.

That follows similar actions by the US federal government, Congress and more than half of the 50 US states. Canada has also banned it from government devices.