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Image Credit: Reuters

Worried about what content your teen is posting or watching on the video sharing app TikTok? And, does their increased screen time concern you, as they stay home from school due to coronavirus restrictions? TikTok’s latest security feature is for parents in the Middle East, to keep a close watch on what content their teen is being exposed to, on the app. On April 19, the app developer announced the Family Pairing Mode, “which allows parents and teens to customize their safety settings based on individual needs.”

Family Pairing, which will be rolled out over the coming weeks, will allow parents to link their TikTok account to their teen's and set controls including screen time management, restrictions on age-inappropriate content and limit access to direct messages.

How it works:

  • ● Screen Time Management: The feature will help users set limits for how long they spend on TikTok each day. Middle East users will start to see Screen Time Management videos in feed. TikTok has partnered with some of its most followed and loved creators in the region to create these engaging videos reminding the online community to have a healthy relationship with online apps. For example, Bayan Abu Hashmah (@bayan.dxb), is encouraging her followers to put their phones down and read a book to relax while Tala Al Sabeh (@tala.sb3) is showing how staying on your phone too long could affect your health in a fun way. Finally, artists Badereddin Saleh Elkhatib (@llunr) and Mohamad Zeineddine (@moezeindtb) created songs to bring these messages across.
  • ● Restricted Mode: This will allow parents to restrict the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all audiences. Even without Family Pairing enabled, parents can help their teen set Screen Time Management and Restricted Mode by visiting the app's Digital Wellbeing controls at any time.
  • ● Direct Messages: This feature will allow parents to limit who can send messages to the connected account, or turn off direct messaging completely. With user safety in mind, starting April 30, TikTok will be automatically disabling Direct Messages for registered accounts under the age of 16.

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Additional TikTok safety tips can also be found via the #tiktoksafetytips hashtag. The hashtag has currently garnered over 3.5 Million views with popular content creators encouraging users to be safe by reporting any inappropriate content, and making sure they report and avoid repeating any harmful behavior.