Short-form video sharing platform TikTok unveiled new security measures and privacy settings designed for its teenage users last Thursday, August 12, 2021. The new measures by the company supposedly aim to help protect these young users from harassment and predatory actions via direct messages (DM).
According to Tech Crunch, TikTok is the latest company to reveal new protections for minors, following in the footsteps of other tech giants in the field like Google, YouTube, and Instagram.
The security measures will be aimed primarily at TikTok users aged 13 to 17, said Tech Crunch. The approach intends to help users have a safer experience while using the program.
Among the changes that the video-sharing platform intends to enact is to stop push notifications past 9 in the evening, particularly for children aged 13 to 15, reports CNN. Meanwhile, teenagers aged 16 to 17 will stop receiving said notifications by 10 p.m. These reportedly aim to promote safer digital habits and highlight less addiction to the app.
Besides the aforementioned changes, CNN states that the tech company will also require minors aged 16 to 17 to switch their message settings to allow direct messages. Those who are under 16 years old will not have their direct messages enabled.
In a statement via its blog post, TikTok said that they “want to help teens make active decisions about their privacy settings, so when someone aged 16-17 joins TikTok, their direct messaging setting will now be set to ‘no one’ by default. To message others, they will need to actively switch to a different sharing option.”
“Existing accounts that have never used DMs before will receive a prompt asking them to review and confirm their privacy settings the next time they use this feature,” continued the blog post.
In addition to these, Tech Crunch shared that users under the age of 16 will receive prompts to choose who can see their respective videos prior to posting. This measure is aimed to assure that teenage users are actually aware of who they are broadcasting their videos to.
The Duet and Stitch features on its platform will likewise be disabled for users under the age of 16. However, Tech Crunch states that this was in conjunction with the previous changes it had enacted back in January 2021.
Young TikTok users will also be asked to take control of who can download their public videos, particularly those aged 16 to 17. The video download feature is not available for people aged 15 and under.
The new security features for teenage users are slated to roll out throughout various parts of the globe in the next few months.