New TikTok parental controls allows blocking of video topics

The new feature is part of the platform’s family pairing functionality

TikTok has introduced a new feature that allows parents to control the content their children can view on the app.

Part of the platform’s family pairing functionality, the feature enables adults to connect their account to their teenager’s and manage settings such as screen time limits.

Last year, the app added a tool that automatically filters out videos with words or hashtags users may not want to see in their For You or Following feeds.

Now the new update means that parents and guardians can set these content filters for their children.

“We’re bringing this tool to Family Pairing to empower caregivers to help reduce the likelihood of their teen viewing content they may uniquely find jarring,” TikTok wrote.

However, by default, teens can view the keywords their caregiver has added and can choose not to opt-in.

TikTok has come under fire over for youngsters viewing harmful material such as content that promotes suicide, self harm and eating disorders. Sometimes these clips are shared using “coded” hashtags – when posters get around moderation rules by slightly misspelling words that would otherwise raise red flags.

The move comes as the long-awaited and repeatedly delayed Online Safety Bill is close to becoming law as it makes its way through Parliament.

“We wanted to make sure we had the right balance of pragmatism and transparency to enable families to choose the best experience for their own family because every family is different,” Julie de Bailliencourt, TikTok’s global head of product policy, told Sky News.

“We also wanted to make sure we respect young people’s right to participate. So by default, teens can view the keywords their parent or caregiver has added.”

The family pairing account linking allows parents to turn on ‘restricted mode’ – this limits exposure to mature content. Some features will be unavailable such as the ‘following’ feed and gifting on live mode.

Additionally, parents can control screen time limits and disable direct messages right from their own phone. Children can’t change these settings without parental approval.

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