TikTok, the short-form video app with a minimum user age of 13, has put in new protective measures for its teenage users.
Default direct messaging settings for 16- and 17-year-olds will now be set to “no one”, meaning app users of this age will have to make an active decision about who is permitted to send them direct messages.
After making their first TikTok video, under-16s will be asked to decide if they want to make their videos visible to their followers, only their friends or just themselves before they are allowed to post.
ByteDance-owned TikTok also said it would reduce the time period during which under-18s receive push notifications, describing this as “a mindful approach” and saying this would help teenagers focus on time set aside for work, study, relaxation and sleep.
People aged 13-15 will no longer receive push notifications after 9pm, while 16- and 17-year-olds will not receive them after 10pm.
The new features follow previous measures such as making all accounts belonging to under-16s private by default and reserving the direct messaging function for users aged 16 and older.
"Through our work with teenagers, parents, NGOs and academics, we'll continue to develop new ways to allow teens to express their creativity and find joy on TikTok whilst ensuring they have a safe experience," said Alexandra Evans, TikTok's head of child safety public policy.