TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, is introducing stronger parental controls to help mitigate issues related to child safety. The social media platform has been under the microscope both in the US and other parts of the world due to the abundance of unsuitable content and a largely youthful demographic. TikTok is now expanding the capabilities for parents to monitor what their teens are viewing by introducing advanced content filtering controls to its existing “Family Pairing” feature. This upgrade allows parents to filter out videos with specific words or hashtags, keeping young users informed in the process.
Originally launched in 2020, the “Family Pairing” feature was designed to permit parents to link to their children’s accounts, thus enabling them to remotely manage direct messages, enforce screen time limits, and activate a “restricted content” mode. Last year, a tool was added to automatically filter videos with potentially unwanted words or hashtags from the user’s “For You” or “Following” feeds.
The latest update integrates these two functionalities, providing parents with the ability to remotely curate videos from their children’s “For You” or “Following” feeds using particular words or hashtags. TikTok explained that this addition to the “Family Pairing” feature is meant to help caregivers decrease the chances of teens encountering unsettling content.
While providing parents with additional control, TikTok is also ensuring that children are aware of the filters set by their parents. They can choose whether or not to adhere to these filters, the company told Sky News. In TikTok’s words, “This transparency can also help to prompt conversations about online boundaries and safety. We also wanted to ensure that we respect the right of young people to participate.”
In a simultaneous development, TikTok plans to establish a global Youth Council later this year. The objective of this initiative is to gain insights from direct platform users to further enhance safety measures for the TikTok community.
TikTok has faced criticism for the distribution of inappropriate content to young audiences, including videos related to self-harm and eating disorders, often concealed by subtly tweaked hashtags to evade moderation. New regulations are looming in the UK via the Online Safety Bill, while the US is crafting a Kids Online Safety Act that would necessitate online safety measures from social media companies like TikTok. Despite a recent ban in Montana, TikTok is contesting the decision, arguing it infringes on First Amendment rights.
Please note that the product recommendations from BuyTechBlog are chosen independently by our editorial team and may include affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links, we might earn a commission. Prices are accurate at the time of publishing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about TikTok Parental Controls
What is TikTok doing to improve safety for younger users?
TikTok is enhancing its parental controls by allowing parents to filter content for their teens based on specific words or hashtags. The platform is also ensuring that children are aware of these filters and can choose whether or not to comply with them. Furthermore, TikTok plans to establish a global Youth Council to gain insights directly from its users, thereby allowing the company to implement more effective safety measures.
What is TikTok’s “Family Pairing” feature?
The “Family Pairing” feature is a safety tool TikTok introduced in 2020. It enables parents to link to their children’s accounts and manage direct messages, enforce screen time limits, and activate a “restricted content” mode. The feature now includes an update that allows parents to filter videos using specific words or hashtags from their children’s “For You” or “Following” feeds.
How is TikTok responding to concerns about inappropriate content?
TikTok is proactively addressing these concerns by allowing parents to filter out specific content and by creating a Youth Council to better understand user experiences. The platform has also implemented tools that automatically filter videos with potentially inappropriate words or hashtags. Additionally, the company is continuously adapting to new online safety regulations in different countries.
What is TikTok’s stance on children’s online participation?
While TikTok aims to create a safe environment for its younger users, it also respects their right to participate in the digital world. The platform believes that transparency about the filters set by parents can foster discussions about online boundaries and safety, giving young users an informed choice to adhere to these filters or not.