Popular video-sharing platform TikTok has launched a new Family Pairing feature in South Africa, and parents of teens couldn’t be happier. Did you know that the rate of teen suicides is on the rise globally, and social media is a direct contributor to his phenomenon? Cyberbullying, sexual solicitation, and child pornography are some of the realities faced by teens online.
The new feature on TikTok allows parents to change their teen’s device settings and boasts some pretty nifty customisations for added safety. This new feature was released in April 2020 and included Screen-Time Management, Restricted Mode, and Direct Messaging.
With Screen-Time Management, parents can control how much time their children spend on TikTok per day. According to TikTok creator Simone Skosana, parents can choose between 30, 60, and 120 minutes of Screen-Time. Families can, however, customise and choose the time they decide would best fit their family’s needs. With Restricted Mode, parents can restrict certain content that they think is inappropriate for their child’s age. With Direct Messaging (DM), parents can decide who can DM their teen or completely switch off the DM option.
4 New TikTok Features
- Search: Parents can choose whether their children can have access to search for content on the application.
2. Comments: The comment functionality can be managed, and parents and teens can choose whether comments should come from everyone, friends, or no one at all.
3. Discoverability: When a teen creates an account, it is automatically public, and parents and teens now choose to make it private.
4. Liked videos: Now, teens and parents can choose whether or not people can view their teen’s liked videos. When asked why TikTok created this feature, Simone says that TikTok is “continuously working to provide a safe platform for teens and users in general. It’s important for them to ensure that “everyone has a positive experience on the platform.
The safety of young people online should be a constant priority for app developers and platform owners. The effect and influence they have on teens, in particular, is immense, and the right security features must be put in place on any platform a child is on. We all need to apply the same cautions online as we would in real life, and having an enjoyable experience on TikTok starts with understanding the tools and controls parents and teens can access to remain safe.