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TikTok parental controls can help protect your child – here’s how to activate them

A report published last year found that 16% of UK toddlers use TikTok   (AFP/Getty Images)
A report published last year found that 16% of UK toddlers use TikTok (AFP/Getty Images)

TikTok has introduced safety features that allow parents to control the content their children see on the platform.

By linking their child’s account on the video-sharing social media app to their own, parents can see what their children are being exposed to. They will also be able to control the amount of screen time allowed on the app each day, limit who can send direct messages to the account and restrict the content appearing in the feed of their child’s account.

TikTok has been touted as the social media app for the younger generation, but the age of the youngest users is less than many people might think. In March 2022, an Ofgem report found that 16% of toddlers use TikTok. With children so young being exposed to digital content, the need for parents to be in control has become ever more pressing.

The new safety features followed concerns about the content children are being exposed to (Reuters)
The new safety features followed concerns about the content children are being exposed to (Reuters)

Similar to the now-defunct app Vine, TikTok allows users to share short, creative videos online. It was first released in 2016 and has become popular with young people. While TikTok videos are mostly harmless and fun, there have been some concerns over what children might be exposed to.

Here's how to activate the new features.

How to activate TikTok’s parental features

  1. Make sure you update your app to the latest version, as these features may not be available on older versions of the app. Visit either the App Store on iPhone or Google Play Store on Android to check you have the most recent version.

  2. Go to your profile by tapping the bottom right of the screen and then tap the top right to bring up Privacy and settings.

  3. From there, you'll see this menu shown below. Tap on Digital Wellbeing.

Click on Digital Wellbeing (TikTok)
Click on Digital Wellbeing (TikTok)

4. Once in the digital Wellbeing menu, there will be three options to choose from. Here is where you can manage screen time, restricted mode and family safety mode (where you can link your account to your child's).

5. As you tap into each section, it will walk you through setting it up. You can set time limits between 40 minutes and two hours on screen time, set a passcode for restricted mode and link your accounts together with the family safety mode.

Parents can set time limits and restrict content (TikTok)
Parents can set time limits and restrict content (TikTok)

The app first introduced screen time management last year, but the company says this update will now give parents more proactive prompts on their feed.

The update came amid growing concerns for the safety and wellbeing of children who use the app, which had 3.7 million active users in the UK as of last January.

Explaining the updates, TikTok's head of trust and safety in Europe, Cormac Keenan, said:

“As part of our ongoing commitment to providing users with features and resources to have the best experience on TikTok, we are announcing family safety mode, a new feature to help parents and guardians keep their teens safe on TikTok."

“We will keep introducing ways to keep our community safe so they can stay focused on what matters to them – creating, sharing and enjoying the creativity of TikTok's community."

Family Safety Mode and Screentime Management are already available in the UK today. Both features will begin to roll out globally in the coming weeks.