The short video sharing service TikTok has launched a new update to increase the safety of its app, giving parents more control over teenage accounts, at a time when social media companies are under increasing pressure to make their platforms safer for children.
Last April, TikTok banned people under the age of 16 from sending direct messages on its platform (Shutterstock).
Yesterday, the company said that the “Family Pairing” feature now allows parents to turn off comments on their children’s videos altogether, or allow them only to friends.
Parents whose accounts are linked to their children’s accounts will also be able to activate the special mode in children’s accounts, turn off the function of searching for content, users, hashtags, or sounds, and determine who can see the videos that their children liked.
It is noteworthy that the family pairing feature was launched last March, and it allows parents to know how long their children spend on Tik Tok each day, and to restrict the content they see in their feed.
The “Tik Tok” service allows children to register and create an account if they are over the age of 13, and all they need is to record their date of birth. However, because TikTok does not ask for age verification, some children under the age of 13 have registered, according to the British organization Ofcom.
Alexandra Evans, head of child safety policy for TikTok in Europe, told CNBC that the family pairing feature has “struck a chord for parents” since its launch, and she explained in a video call with the network before the announcement: ” If we think of it as a toolbox, then we want to provide more tools. “
“The new Family Pairing feature, which is rolling out worldwide from Tuesday, provides children with a buffer while exploring Tik Tok content,” Evans said.
Evans added, “The updates we’re making today are the latest in a series of steps we’ve taken to give families the tools they need to create the right TikTok experience for them.” We know that when people feel safe, they feel free to express their creativity. Safety is at the heart of everything we do. “
Last April, TikTok banned people under the age of 16 from sending direct messages on its platform, becoming the first social media company to ban private messaging by teens on a global scale.