TikTok is now officially launching its family safety and digital wellbeing features at the global scale under new "Family Pairing" branding. Announced back in February, the new features offer an easy way for parents to engage with their children about using the internet and apps safely. They also allow parents to provide oversight and control, linking parent accounts with those of teens as young as 13.
Linking is easy too, with QR codes and a scanning tool placed directly within the app settings.
The changes will arrive via an update to the TikTok app and each of the features was designed to adhere to safety and privacy standards by TikTok. But the company also took guidance from and partnered with a number of family-oriented safety organizations. Specifically, those are the Family Online Safety Institute, ConnectSafely, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the PTA.
Now, the family safety features have been planned for some time now. TikTok indicates that the rollout has been accelerated due to ongoing health-related concerns worldwide.
What exactly are the new family safety and digital wellbeing features in TikTok?
Given TikTok's meteoric rise to become one of the top social and video content creation apps on the market, it's hardly surprising that these features are arriving now. It just makes sense for a top application to take into account privacy and data protection for children. Especially since children as young as 13 can use the app.
Not only have those two vectors become increasingly important to end-users. It's also something that could help set the company apart from the competition.
In total, TikTok has outlined three new features found in the update. Those include Screen Time Management, Restricted Mode, and Direct Message controls. All that's required is for parents to navigate into settings and link their teens' accounts up to their own.
The first of the new tools, Screen Time Management, is self-explanatory. It allows parents to control how much time their children can spend in TikTok daily. It also stacks atop other features, such as partnered content that reminds users to take a break. Those videos also offer suggestions for offline activities teens can do. TikTok's announcement provides the example scenario of a video suggesting teens 'read a book'.
Restricted Mode, conversely, limits the appearance of content by age-appropriateness. That can be set up even without Family Pairing enabled, just as Screen Time Management can be. Parents simply need to navigate with their kids to the Digital Wellbeing controls found in the app's settings to set those up.
The last of the new features is Direct Message control. In effect, it allows control over who can — or can't — send messages to an account. Parents can set the app up to only accept messages from approved followers. Or they can turn off direct messages entirely. TikTok also says it will take that a step further from April 30 by automatically disabling messaging for users under the age of 16.
This should show up for end-users soon
While exact regional launch dates for these features have not been provided, TikTok had launched those collectively in the UK as "Family Safety Mode," with promises to launch globally in the future. Now, they're rolling out everywhere but this appears to be a slow rollout. The company says the features should arrive over the "coming weeks."
That means each of the new family-focused digital wellbeing features should appear for every TikTok user on a global scale sooner than later.