By Jordan Furlong, Product Manager, Digital Well-being
At TikTok, we believe that our digital experiences should bring us joy, entertainment, connection and enrichment. Having a positive relationship with digital devices and apps isn't just about measuring screen time, it's also about feeling in control of how we use technology and ensuring that the time we spend online contributes positively to our sense of well-being. That's why we're taking a number of steps today to help support our community's digital well-being as they create and discover on TikTok.
As we encourage people to think more mindfully about developing positive digital habits, we're launching two new practical tools to make it easier for our community to feel in control of their TikTok experience. We already offer daily screen time limits, which help people decide how much time they'd like to spend on our app each day. In the coming weeks, we're introducing a tool to let people control how much time they spend on TikTok in a single sitting by enabling regular screen time breaks. These prompts will remind people to take a break after a certain amount of uninterrupted screen time, which they can set as they choose.
Our new screen time dashboard will also give our community data about how much time they are spending on TikTok, with summaries of their daily time spent on the app, the number of times they opened the app, and a breakdown of daytime and night-time usage. People can also opt for weekly notifications to review their dashboard.
To support our community in thinking about their digital habits, we've also published a new guide - How can I reflect on my digital well-being with my family and friends? - on our Safety Centre. The guide encourages our community to reflect more holistically about how they spend their time online – whether on TikTok or elsewhere – and how it makes them feel as they set the boundaries that best suit them.
We'll also be introducing weekly digital well-being prompts for younger members of our community. When someone aged between 13 and 17 has used the app for more than 100 minutes in a single day, we will remind them of our screen time limit tool the next time they open the app.
Understanding how parents and teens approach screentime
To better understand how families grapple with the question of screen time, in partnership with Internet Matters, we asked teens and parents in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy for their views on screen time, how they manage it currently, and what help they would like.
The insights from this research underscore the importance of agency – when teens feel in control of their online behaviours and habits, it plays a positive role in their well-being. To help them do that, teens asked for more data about their usage and active alerts like pop-ups and warning times. They also want flexible tools that can be adapted to different circumstances, for example, to allow themselves more screen time during a rainy Saturday afternoon in the summer than they might the night before an exam. Supporting the well-being of young people is an industry-wide challenge, and we hope that others will also benefit from the publication of these findings.
We’re proud that the changes we are announcing today, along with our new guide, will go some way toward helping teens, parents, and the rest of our community, have more agency over how they spend their time on TikTok.
We hope these new digital well-being tools continue to support our community in fostering a positive relationship with TikTok. We will continue to invest in protecting the well-being of people so that our community can feel in control of their TikTok experience and empowered to express their creativity, make meaningful connections and enjoy culture-defining entertainment.
What our partners and our expert advisors say:
“The research showed that younger users would welcome the introduction of built-in features and settings that prompt them to both think critically about the time that they are spending online, but also encourage them to use settings to actively manage the time they spent on the app. It is important that they feel in control of their online experiences and are helped to make considered choices. We look forward to TikTok developing further features that will put children’s wellbeing at the heart of their design choices." - Carolyn Bunting MBE, CEO, Internet Matters
"A sense of agency is a key aspect of wellbeing in digital spaces. People need tools that empower them to use social media intentionally and to be mindful about how, when, and why they use these platforms. Features that provide people with insight into screentime, and allow them to flexibly customize their online experiences to emphasize quality over quantity, can help provide this sense of agency and support mindfulness." - Dr. Nina Vasan and Dr. Sara Johansen, advisors from Brainstorm: The Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation at Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry