This is perhaps the bad news many of the TikTok generation were dreading. The popular social media platform has announced the new TikTok Family Pairing option, which means parents can remotely set restrictions to a child’s TikTok account. For that, the parent will also need to have a TikTok account (smart way to get even more people registered, on-board and hooked) and then link their child’s account with their own. Parents will now be able to preset limits for how much time their kid spends TikTok on a daily basis, will also have the option of limiting or completely disabling the direct messages (DMs) option altogether and be able to manage what kind of content their kids can see on their TikTok app.
“Family Pairing enhances our suite of safety tools and complements our work to provide greater access to product features as users reach key milestones for digital literacy. It is part of our continued work toward providing parents better ability to guide their teen's online experience while allowing time to educate about online safety and digital citizenship,” says Jeff Collins, Trust & Safety, San Francisco Bay Hub at TikTok. TikTok is a video sharing social media network owned by Chinese company Bytedance. This is part of the company’s attempts to make the platform safer for children. In February last year, they had to pay a fine of $5.7 million to the US Federal Trade Commission for violations of the children’s privacy law, and the company has been making improvements since then.
A similar feature had rolled out in the UK in February, and Bytedance had made it clear then itself that it’ll be available for everyone in the near future. That time is now.
Starting April 30, TikTok will be automatically disabling Direct Messages for registered accounts under the age of 16. Parents can then choose either leave these disabled or enable them for select contacts only. TikTok’s policies include the option to only allow approved followers on direct messages and also restrict video or photos from being sent in these messages.
These changes will be rolling out over the next few weeks, says the Bytedance owned TikTok and parents will be able to link a child’s account by scanning a QR code in the digital wellbeing settings in the app.
TikTok’s incredible popularity can perhaps be best judged by numbers—it has over 800 million monthly active users as of January, according to Hootsuite’s Digital 2020 report. This is up from 300 million in January 2019, which is nothing short of an incredible spike. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone is working from home, Music Business Worldwide numbers suggested that the app saw a 185 increase in downloads, which clocked 2 million downloads, between March 16 and March 22. The app is available for Android phones and the Apple iPhone.