TikTok is giving the parents of its millions of teenage users more options to restrict what their children can see and share.
The short-form video app announced a host of new parental controls on Tuesday, including the ability to decide what content teens can search for on TikTok, who can comment on their profiles, who can see what videos they’ve liked and whether their profile is public or private.
“Our aim is to strike a balance between safety and autonomy for teenagers as we work to create a safe and supportive place for self-expression,” Tracy Elizabeth, the company’s head of global minor safety policy, and Alexandra Evans, its head of child safety public policy for Europe, wrote in a blog post.
The new measures are part of TikTok’s Family Pairing feature rolled out to certain European countries in February this year, which allows parents to link their account to their teenager’s. The feature, previously called Family Safety Mode, allowed parents to set limits on how much time their children spend on TikTok every day, what kind of content they can view and the ability to limit or turn off direct messages.
TikTok is now expanding those features and making them available worldwide.
“As young people start to build a presence online, we believe it’s important to give families tools so parents and teens can set guardrails together,” Elizabeth and Evans said.
TikTok is dominated by younger users — 32.5% of the app’s US user base was between the ages of 10 and 19 as of June 2020, more than any other age group, according to data from analytics firm App Ape published by Statista. On the app, users typically share 15-second clips of themselves dancing, lip-syncing, doing comedy skits or participating in challenges that pop up on the platform.
As CNN Business has reported, the app’s popularity among teens, combined with its unique potential for overnight viral stardom, has forced parents to grapple with difficult questions around everything from privacy and bullying to how their kids can profit from the platform.
In the United States, TikTok offers a limited version of the app for users under 13. It doesn’t allow for sharing or commenting on videos and messaging with other people, but kids can still view TikTok content that is age appropriate.
– CNN Business’ Kaya Yurieff contributed to this report.