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TikTok gives parents more power over their kids


Short-form video app TikTok announced today that it is expanding the Family Pairing feature that it introduced earlier this year. As the title of the feature suggests, parents can link their TikTok account to their teen’s account; this gives parents more control and allows them to use some new tools to create a balanced TikTok experience that is right for the entire family.

TikTok adds new parental controls

The new features found in Family Pairing include Search; with this feature you can decide whether your teen can search for certain TikTok content, users, hashtags, and sounds. You can also determine how much time your kid can spend on TikTok each day with Screen Time Management. In Restricted Mode, certain content not appropriate for children will be limited in the number of appearances made in your kid’s “For You” feed.

Besides Search, other new features include Comment; with this feature enabled you can decide who gets to comment on your kid’s TikTok posts. Deciding whether your kid’s TikTok account is public (open to be viewed by anyone) or private (your teen decides who can see it) is up to you with Discoverability, and the Liked Videos feature makes it your decision whether others can view the videos that your child has “liked.” And while Direct Messages are automatically disabled for those under 16, if your child is 17 or older you can restrict the TikTok subscribers who are allowed to send a Direct Message to your child or turn it off completely.

In its blog, TikTok says, “Every family is different. Some may choose to use Family Pairing only when their teen starts on TikTok; others may choose to stay connected to their teen’s account for longer; and even without Family Pairing enabled, teens can always take advantage of these tools by selecting them individually through their app settings. Whatever parents and teens decide is right for them, we hope Family Pairing will encourage families to have broader conversations about digital safety.”

Those under the age of 13 can use TikTok for Younger Users, which limits the use of TikTok to “view only.” As TikTok says, “In this ecosystem, users can experience and make fun, creative, and even educational videos but cannot post those videos, comment on others’ videos, message with others, or maintain a profile or followers.” It prepares those under 13 for that glorious day in the future when they turn 14 and can create and post videos to the platform.

For the Holiday season, TikTok also said today that it is launching a month long holiday celebration that will highlight and support TikTok’s diverse group of creators, users and artists. TikTok states that its, “#HolidaysOurWay content programming will honor and celebrate the different voices and backgrounds of the people on our platform and feature cultural traditions, familial food, conversation, and basic human connection. With a calendar full of TikTok LIVE programming and special, curated creator content, we’re pulling out all of the stops for an uplifting and inclusive end to 2020.” TikTok adds that “We’ll also be introducing new, holiday-themed content for “Amplify Diverse Voices,” our video series that helps support and discover diverse creators on TikTok. In the special holiday edition, we’ll be highlighting creators in our community and their holiday traditions. Amplify Diverse Voices uplifts and celebrates cultures, helps user discover traditions, and encourages the community to learn from our incredible creators.”

The U.S. government, looking to ban TikTok because it could be forced to turn over data collected in the states to the Communist Chinese government, has given TikTok parent ByteDance two weeks to find a U.S. buyer for its American operations. Back in September, a tentative agreement was made with Oracle and Walmart with each U.S. firm taking 20% of the operation; 60% would belong to the American arm of ByteDance. If no deal is agreed to, TikTok will be banned from the states.

The app has 100 million users in the U.S. and worldwide it has been installed two-and-a-half-billion times in more than 150 countries according to CBS.

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