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Tech Talk: Teen video-sharing app TikTok introduces a new safety feature

TikTok is introducing a new “family safety mode” designed to give parents tighter control over teens’ mobile phone habits.

Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok icons apps on the screen smartphone. Social media mobile apps. Moscow, Russia – April 9, 2019


It will let parents link their own TikTok accounts to their child’s – and turn features on and off remotely.


That includes a “restricted mode” that tries to filter out inappropriate content, and turning off messaging.


TikTok has an age limit of 13, but many pre-teens still use the Chinese-owned app.


According to a report by The BBC, a recent survey by UK media regulator Ofcom found that TikTok was used by 13% of all children aged 12-15 in 2019 – up from 8% the year before.


Parents and guardians who have their own TikTok accounts – or create one for this purpose – can link their account to their child’s, to have direct control over the safety settings.


The adults must open the app on both phones, head to the “digital wellbeing” settings, and identify which phone belongs to them, and which to the child.


Scanning a QR code from one phone with the other links the accounts, and lets the parent password-protect certain features.

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These safety features have been on the TikTok platform for some time, but needed to be set on the teenager’s phone manually, and locked behind a password that had to be reset every 30 days.

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