Most of the updates are around privacy. Parents will now be able to restrict who can comment on their teen’s videos, who can view their account, and who can see what videos they’ve liked. That allows parents to limit an account so that only their child’s friends can see what they’ve been up to. TikTok already offers the ability for parents to turn off or limit direct messages, too.
There are also some new content restrictions. Parents will now be able to stop their teenager from searching for videos, users, hashtags, or sounds, which could make it harder for them to find certain content on the app. TikTok also already offers both a “restricted mode” that’s supposed to hide age-inappropriate videos and a screen time tool that sets time limits on browsing the app.
The options are all part of TikTok’s Family Pairing feature. The tool lets parents connect to their kid’s account and then set limits on it. The big catch to all of this is that kids will have to go along with it: TikTok makes it so that a teen can disable the feature at any time, although parents will get notified when that happens.
Still, it’s an increasingly robust set of tools for parents who may be worried about what can happen on such a huge app. It’s also a sign that TikTok is taking children’s safety more seriously than its predecessor, Musical.ly, which failed to properly handle data and get parental consent for users under the age of 13, according to the Federal Trade Commission. TikTok paid $5.7 million to settle the allegations.