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

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TikTok says every account held by a user under the age of 18 will have a default daily screen time limit of up to 60 minutes in the coming weeks.
(Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

TikTok said Wednesday that every account held by a user younger than 18 will have a default 60-minute daily screen time limit in the coming weeks. The changes arrive during a period of growing concerns among various governments about the app’s security.

Families have struggled with limiting the amount of time their children spend on the Chinese-owned video sharing app.

Cormac Keenan, head of trust and safety at TikTok, said in a blog post Wednesday that when the 60-minute limit is reached, minors will be prompted to enter a passcode to make an “active decision” to keep watching. For accounts with users younger than 13, a parent or guardian will have to set or enter an existing passcode to allow 30 minutes of extra viewing time once the initial 60-minute limit is reached.


TikTok said it came up with the 60-minute threshold by consulting academic research and experts from 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 are preventing harm for young users.

TikTok also said Wednesday that it would prompt teens to set a daily screen time limit if they opt out of the 60-minute default. The company will send weekly inbox notifications to teen accounts with a screen time recap.

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Some of TikTok’s existing safety features for teen accounts include having accounts set to private by default for those ages 13 to 15 and providing direct messaging only to accounts whose users are 16 or older.

TikTok announced a number of changes for all users, including the ability to set customized screen time limits for each day of the week and allowing users to set a schedule to mute notifications. The company is also launching a sleep reminder to help people plan when they want to be offline at night. For the sleep feature, users will be able to set a time, and when the time arrives, a pop-up will remind the user that it’s time to log off.

Outside of excessive use by some minors, there are growing concerns about the app around the world. The European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU Council have banned TikTok from being installed on official devices.


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