Amid growing concerns about app addiction, TikTok is rolling out more on-screen tools.

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TikTok users regularly complain about hours lost on the platform due to the video app’s unrivaled ability to distract, entertain and engage users through its advanced recommendation technology. His captivating nature was the subject numerous psychological research as well as parents’ concernslike tik tok becomes one of the most popular applications among children. Instead of giving up on your digital dopamine dispenser, TikTok rolling out today a new set of Screen Time features designed to give users more control over their TikTok usage.

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New features include two new controls to monitor and manage Screen Time usage, and a new Digital Wellbeing Guide being added to the app’s Security Center.

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A guide called “How can I reflect on my digital well-being with family and friends?” TikTok says it aims to help users “think more holistically” about how they spend their time online.

Image Credits: TikTok’s new safety guide

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Meanwhile, new Screen Time features in addition to the Screen Time controls TikTok already has. launched for families who were available worldwide has been around for over two years and includes the ability for parents to set screen time limits for kids. These features also complement the daily screen time limit tool. TikTok added February 2020which is available to all users from the existing Digital Wellbeing section of the app.

Instead, a newly launched in-app tool helps users control how much time they spend on TikTok. in one sitting allowing them to schedule regular screen breaks.

This feature aims to address app dependency issues, which are not about overall consumption, but about losing track of how much time you spend on TikTok every time you open an app. In other words, it’s a per-session screen time management tool.

Image Credits: tik tak

With the new tool, users can ask the app to remind them to take a break after a set amount of time of their choice.

By default, it offers break reminders of 10, 20, or 30 minutes, though users can set reminders for arbitrary times if they want to participate in longer or shorter sessions before being shown a notification. This default suggested time for session breaks is well below the daily screen time limits recommended by the current tool. The latter asks users to set a daily screen time limit of 40, 60, 90, or 120 minutes.

TikTok notes that the tool can also be snoozed or disabled at any time, allowing people to use the reminders as they see fit. For example, users may not want to limit screen time on lazy weekends at home, but would like to limit their time on TikTok during the work week when they try to go to bed early.

In conjunction with this addition, TikTok is releasing a new Screen Time dashboard that will provide more insight into how much time users are spending on the app. It includes summaries of the daily time the user spent in the app, the number of times they opened the app, and a breakdown of daytime and nighttime usage. Users can also sign up to receive weekly notifications that remind them to review their dashboard.

Image Credits: tik tak

While new screen time tools are being rolled out for users of all ages around the world, TikTok says it is also introducing new screen time prompts for underage users aged 13 to 17. In the future, if a minor has been in the app for more than 100 minutes a day, TikTok will remind them of their new screen time limit tool the next time they open the app.

That such a feature should exist at all suggests that many parents still haven’t bothered to set up their existing TikTok parental controls, leaving the company as the digital parent.

Generation X users and millennials—today’s parents—may have grown up with technology or have used it for most of their adult lives, but a surprising number of people still don’t control their kids’ screen time and use of digital devices. A 2021 Kaspersky research found that only half of parents in the US used parental control apps, and only 44% monitored their children’s device usage. In other markets, the application of parental controls may be even lower. BUT 2020/2021 Ofcom researchfor example, suggested that about six out of ten parents in the UK knew about digital parental controls, but only about a third actually used it.

Image Credits: Wellbeing TikTok Page

Deployment of new Screen Time features follows a recent Wall Street Journal investigation in April 2022 The impact of TikTok on children’s brains. The report cites well-known scientific research it studied how the app’s algorithm activates reward centers in the brain, including those associated with addiction. While the study focused on college students and young adults rather than children, it found that around 5.9% of TikTok users may have “significant usage problems.”

According to The WSJ, it’s even harder for young people to control their screen time use because their brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is focused on impulse control and decision making, isn’t fully developed until age 25.

Perhaps TikTok’s screen time tools, including those for underage children, are more reliable than tools on competing platforms like Instagram and YouTube due to the granularity of TikTok’s controls. And they are way ahead of Snapchat, which has yet to launch. own parental control. But given the already well-documented impact of addictive social apps on health, especially on children’s brains, regulators are expected to step in soon to tighten their grip on the market, so app makers shouldn’t have to choose which tools to offer and how. they should work.

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