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Monday, April 22, 2024

TikTok’s Family Pairing tool now gives parents personalized control over the content their teens see

TikTok is bringing its content filtering tool to its Family Pairing offering, which lets parents link their account to their teen’s to enable content and privacy settings, the company announced on Tuesday. Content filtering allows users to filter out videos with words or hashtags they don’t want to see in their For You or Following feeds.

By bringing content filtering to Family Pairing, TikTok says it will allow parents to help reduce the likelihood of their teen “viewing content they may uniquely find jarring.” The official rollout comes as revealed that it was working on this functionality back in March.

“To adapt this feature for Family Pairing, we engaged with experts, including the Family Online Safety Institute, on how to strike a balance between enabling families to choose the best experience for their needs while also ensuring we respect young people’s rights to participate in the online world,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Therefore, by default, teens can view the keywords their caregiver has added.”

The keywords that parents add will provide a personalized layer on top of TikTok’s Content Levels system, which already helps to keep content with more mature or complex themes from reaching audiences between ages 13-17.

The company also announced today that it’s launching a global Youth Council later this year to “listen to the experiences of those who directly use our platform and be better positioned to make changes to create the safest possible experience for our community.”

In March, TikTok updated its screen time controls with more custom options, introduced new default settings for teen accounts and expanded Family Pairing with more parental controls. As part of these changes, the app set every teen’s daily screen time to 60 minutes by default. Once teens reach this limit, they are asked to enter a passcode in order to keep scrolling.

Shortly after introducing this change, TikTik CEO Shou Zi Chew was questioned on the tool’s inefficiency in a congressional hearing today before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The exec was forced to admit that the company didn’t have data on how many teens were continuing to watch beyond the default limits. TikTok revealed today that almost three-quarters of teens choose to keep the limit.

TikTok also shared that more than 850,000 teens and their families use Family Pairing to set guardrails and preferences based on their individual needs.

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