TikTok Screentime Controls, Children’s Mobile Phone Addiction & More



Video-sharing social media platform, TikTok, is introducing in-app screentime controls in a bid to help younger users manage their time spent on the platform.

Under the new controls, users will be able to set limits on the time they can use the app continuously, while a screentime ‘dashboard’ will allow them to monitor how much time each day they spend on the app, broken down into daytime and night-time usage.

As part of the new measures, when someone aged between 13 and 17 has used the app for more than 100 minutes in a single day, they’ll get a notification reminding them of the screen time limit tool the next time they open the app.

Jordan Furlong, product manager of digital well-being at Tik Tok, said in a blog post: “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.”


School teachers have expressed concern that pupils are becoming increasingly addicted to using their mobile phones in the aftermath of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The addictions could be leading to children watching more and more distressing content online, they warned.

Teachers have called for additional mental health support services for children in order to prevent school absences.

Sophie Gosden, head teacher at The Mill Primary Academy, Crawley, told the BBC: “We’ve had some children in Years 5 and 6 that have slept with their mobile phones under their pillows because they’re frightened of missing out on notifications and they’d wake up in the morning and feel stressed out because they had 62 notifications that they’d feel they’d need to reply to.”


Twitter has updated its processes to facilitate the reporting of harassment and spam experienced on the platform.

The method, which was trialled in December 2021, allows users to describe the unpleasant experience they’ve had rather than attempt to set out how the experience violates the company’s policies.

Twitter said it hoped the move would lift the burden of reporting harassment on the platform.

“This method is called symptoms-first, where Twitter first asks the person what’s going on,” Twitter said in a blog post.

“If you break your leg, the doctor doesn’t say, is your leg broken? They say, where does it hurt? The idea is, first let’s try to find out what’s happening instead of asking you to diagnose the issue.”


Facebook has been accused of approving adverts promoting hate speech and inciting violence, following an investigation by the charity, Global Witness.

The investigation, conducted in partnership with legal non-profit, Foxglove and independent researcher, Dagim Afework Mekonnen, involved finding examples of hate speech on the platform written in Amharic and submitting them as adverts. All twelve of the adverts submitted were approved for publication, the investigation found.

Global Witness urged Facebook to better resource content moderation in all the countries in which the platform operates and provide psychological support to content moderators.

“Facebook and other social media platforms should treat the spread of hate and violence with the utmost urgency,” the Global Witness report said.

“If they’re this bad in the main language of a country, imagine how bad they’re likely to be in a minority language.”

In a statement to the Guardian, Facebook said: “We’ve invested heavily in safety measures in Ethiopia, adding more staff with local expertise and building our capacity to catch hateful and inflammatory content in the most widely spoken languages, including Amharic.”

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