TikTok Sets Default Daily Screen Time Limit For Under 18s


TikTok will automatically set a one-hour daily screen time limit for users under the age of 18, the company announced on Wednesday, part of a string of new safeguarding features as concerns grow over the platform’s potentially harmful impact on younger users.

Key Facts

TikTok said it will automatically roll out the feature to every account belonging to a user below the age of 18 “in the coming weeks.”

The feature will prompt users to enter a passcode in order to continue using the app once they hit the 60-minute limit, TikTok said.

While the setting will not prevent users from continuing to watch, it does require users to “make an active decision to extend that time,” the platform said.

Users can opt-out of the 60-minute default but will be prompted to set a daily limit if they spend more than 100 minutes a day on the app, TikTok said.

For users under the age of 13, TikTok said a parent or guardian will need to set or enter a passcode to unlock an additional 30 minutes of additional watch time.

Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety, said there is “no collectively-endorsed position” on the impact of screen time or how much is the right amount but noted the company had consulted academic literature and experts when choosing the limit.

News Peg

TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms, particularly among younger users. The potential for TikTok—alongside other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube—to harm younger users has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years and numerous experts, rights groups and policy groups have identified areas where the platform’s algorithms and content can harm users’ mental and physical wellbeing. Some of the biggest social media companies, TikTok included, have been sued and face regulatory investigators and lawmaker probes over their failure to adequately safeguard children using their products.

What To Watch For

TikTok did not set a specific date for when it will roll out its new features to users. In addition to the automatic screen time limit, TikTok also announced ways caregivers can customize daily time limits, sleep reminders and when notifications can be muted. The announcement said the ability to set customized screen time limits and set a schedule to mute notifications will arrive “soon.”


Scrutiny over TikTok’s impact on children and teens comes as the company endures increasing pressure from Western governments over its ties to China. Officials worry the app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, could be used by Beijing to spy on users. TikTok denies it would ever do so but Western officials fear Beijing could compel it to comply. Multiple reports show that such fears are not entirely unreasonable and reveal ByteDance has already accessed U.S. user data on multiple occasions and had planned to use this to track American citizens, Forbes journalists among them. The federal government and most state governments have already banned employees from using the app on official devices and U.S. lawmakers are considering a complete ban to protect national security. Other governments are wary as well, with the European Union having instructed staff to remove the app from work devices.

Further Reading

YouTube Shorts takes on TikTok in battle for younger users (Financial Times)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthart/2023/03/01/tiktok-sets-default-daily-screen-time-limit-for-under-18s/