TikTok Provides Safety Measures for Children with Family Pairing

TikTok Provides Safety Measures for Children with Family Pairing

Now, more than ever, families and people of all ages are turning to internet platforms like TikTok to stay entertained, educated and connected due to social distancing. Although TikTok began rising to fame long before COVID-19, lockdown only amplified its popularity. TikTok provides families with tools to channel their creativity, illustrate their stories and show support for their communities. At the same time, however, families are learning to maneuver these digital spaces together and focus on guaranteeing a safer experience for each young adult participating.

With that in mind, TikTok had taken copious steps in enhancing their policies and controls by introducing Family Pairing. This new safety feature allows parents and teens to customize their safety settings based on their own individual needs. Family pairing provides parents with the ability to guide their teen’s online experience while allowing the opportunity for education about online safety and digital branding. The only downside to Family Pairing is that children can disable it at any time, however, if this is the case parents will receive a notification informing them of the disconnection.

Parents who want to use Family Pairing must create their own TikTok accounts. The process of pairing accounts requires parents to scan a QR code on their child’s account. To begin, follow these instructions:

  1. Open TikTok on both your device and your teen’s device.
  2. Go to profile, then head to settings (the "..." button in the top-right corner).
  3. Scroll down to Digital Wellbeing.
  4. Tap Family Pairing and select whether the phone belongs to the adult or the teen.
  5. Next, scan a QR code on one phone with the other to link the accounts.
  6. Now, the adult can access the parent password-protect security features.

The Family Pairing control will allow a parent to link their TikTok account to their teen’s account and set the following controls:

In an effort to counteract doom scrolling, Screen Time Management allows parents to control how much time their teen can spend on TikTok each day. TikTok also partnered with top TikTok stars to create short ad-like videos that appear within a user’s feed. These posts will promote users to keep tabs on their screen time while suggesting alternative activities to do offline. To set up Screen Time Management, follow these instructions: 

  1. Open TikTok on your teen’s device.
  2. Go to profile, then head to settings.
  3. Scroll down to Digital Wellbeing.
  4. Select “Screen Time Management.”
  5. Press the red button to turn it on.
  6. Set and confirm a passcode.
  7. Now, the time limit is then set to 60 minutes.

TikTok’s Restricted Mode filters the display of content that may not be age-appropriate for younger users. It is not completely clear how this feature works, as TikTok has not yet revealed how it screens its videos. However, air on the side of caution with these features considering controls like this one are not always known for being completely accurate. To enable Restricted Mode, follow these instructions:

  1. Open TikTok on your teen’s device.
  2. Go to profile, then head to settings.
  3. Scroll down to Digital Wellbeing.
  4. Select Restricted Mode.
  5. Tap "Turn on Restricted Mode.”
  6. Set and confirm a passcode.
  7. Now, your teen’s TikTok account is in Restricted Mode. 

As of April 30, 2020, TikTok automatically disabled direct messages for anyone under the age of 16. Direct Messages can now be restricted.  Parents now have the capacity to turn off direct messages completely or set limits on who can send messages to the connected account. TikTok already had in place controls that allow only approved followers to message one another. The app also blocks images and videos from being sent in the app’s messenger. To disable Direct Messages, follow the instructions:

  1. Open TikTok on your teen’s device.
  2. Go to profile, then head to settings.
  3. Scroll down to Privacy and Safety.
  4. Select “Who can send you messages.”
  5. Choose Everyone, Friends, or Off.
  6. Now, your Direct Messages are not open to the public. 

SGS has created numerous resources to help identify what would work best for your family. Our downloadable TikTok Sheet reviews questions to encourage open and honest conversations about the app. Upon download, you will also discover more information about what TikTok is about. 

Located under the parent resources page on our website, we have also included our rating of TikTok, which is based on our rating of privacy, safety and content.