TikTok has outlined a raft of measures it is taking to improve safety and privacy on its platform for teenagers, perhaps the most interesting of all the changes is its change in attitude to push notifications. It said that it wants to help teens develop a healthier attitude towards social media so that it doesn’t impact their sleep.
Working from advice set out by paediatric experts and youth well-being advocates, TikTok will stop sending push notifications after 9 p.m. if a user is aged 13-15 while those who are aged 16-17 will stop getting notifications at 10 p.m. Hopefully, this change will allow teens to switch off from the app instead of having to respond to every little thing that pops up.
Another change that TikTok is introducing allows teens between 16-17 to learn how downloads work. By default, the option to download a teen user’s video is disabled but it can be enabled. The user must confirm their choice before they allow others to download videos. For users under the age of 16, the option to allow others to download their videos is disabled entirely and cannot be switched on. Additionally, teens under 16 will see a pop-up when they go to publish a video asking who should be allowed to watch the video.
Finally, TikTok has disabled direct messages for users ages 16-17 by default although they can be switched on. This new default builds on a previous change that disabled messaging entirely on accounts under age 16.
The changes that TikTok is introducing today should go some way to addressing findings that show young people are more intensely feeling pressured by social media with Ofcom reporting that 66% of boys felt increased popularity pressures while 75% of girls felt pressure from social media.