TikTok has installed new safety features to ensure parents can easily safeguard their children while using the popular app . The new features enable parents to remotely change settings to block their kids from carrying out searches as well as to prevent strangers from viewing their posts.
The action from the video-sharing app comes after a documentary from the BBC raised safety concerns on the rising number of predators abusing the platform to target young users. One case that was highlighted was when one of the app's moderators failed to ban a user who was reported for sending sexual messages to an account that appeared to belong to a 14-year-old girl. However, the account was said to be controlled by the programme.
The new protective features on TikTok is related to its Family Pairing function that is activated by scanning QR codes to determine which device belongs to the parent and which is the child's. Although this function was launched earlier this year, it still has certain limitations. It controls features such as the types of content the child has access to, the use of private chats and the amount of time they can spend on the app.
This safety feature has now been extended so parents can alter their child's settings and info. They can filter comments on their child's uploaded videos, turn off searches for specific content, users and hashtags as well as limit who can see which videos their child has liked.
Children will still be able to override these limitations but not without their parents' knowledge and consent.
Although TikTok has denied their recent actions was the result of the documentary, they were quick to assure that the app is constantly working on new security measures.
A press release from TikTok said:
"Today's announcement is just the latest in the steps TikTok has taken this year to keep younger users safe on the platform, including restricting direct messaging to over-16s and prompting all users under-18 to set their account to private when they join."
Children still have the option to "unpair" their device from the parent's. However, this will send an alert notification to their parents. Parents have 48 hours to restore this before the child can completely turn off restrictions.
While child safety features may be helpful tools, many child safety experts support the "unpairing" function as it allows balance and an understanding on safety and surveillance in teenagers.