What Parents Need to Know About TikTok’s New Parental Control Tool

If TikTok had a moment before the pandemic, it is truly experiencing a surge in popularity and attention right now as teens are stuck at home everywhere and have nothing better to do than convince their parents to dance for social media. So the time is right for the short video platform app to announce the rollout of a new parental control feature that it says will allow parents to link their account with their child’s and set restrictions remotely.

TikTok calls this new parental control tool “Family Pairing” because your accounts will be linked and parents can manage their child’s settings from their phone. The Verge explains:

Parents will still have to get their kids to agree to linking their accounts under the new system. To set it up, parents need to scan a QR code in the digital wellness section of their child’s account. Children will be able to disable this feature at any time, although there are some hurdles: parents will receive a notification and they will have the option to re-link the account if it was accidentally disabled.

(And, I mean, if they’re resistant to this, you can make linking accounts a prerequisite for using them in the app. Waving emoticons.)

The restrictions that can be managed with Family Pairing have three main components: first, in addition to short videos that appear in the app, encouraging users to pause on the screen, parents can also control how much time their child can spend in the app each day. … Second, “restricted mode” can restrict content that may not be suitable for younger users.

Third, parents can restrict who can send messages to their child’s account, or turn off direct messaging altogether. This is on top of other messaging controls that were already in place, for example, only approved subscribers can send messages to each other and the inability to send images or videos via messages. Additionally, effective April 30, TikTok says it will automatically disable direct messages for registered user accounts under 16.

The new feature will roll out “ in the coming weeks, ” and TikTok says that even without Family Pairing enabled, parents can help their kids set up screen time management and limited mode by visiting the “digital wellbeing” controls in the app. But having paired accounts means it will be easier for you to test the controls and tweak them as needed over time.

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