TikTok proposes screentime limits for teens under 18

Roosevelt students are skeptical it would have any effect whatsoever

By Jalyn Russ, Kemari Starks, Kendon Pegram, Staff Writers

With threats of a total ban throughout the United States, TikTok announced on March 1 that it is adding a time limit feature so children/teens will be more aware of the amount of time they spend on the app.  

“In the coming weeks,” the statement said, “every account belonging to a user below age 18 will automatically be set to a 60-minute daily screen time limit.” 

Kids between 13 and 18 will be prompted to enter a passcode after 60s minutes of use, and kids under 13 will need to have a parent or guardian to set or enter an existing passcode to enable 30 minutes of additional watch time. 

TikTok is an app that is very addictive and can capture people’s attention for hours. It is a frequent source of entertainment for users, day in and day out. “I might be on it for about like seven hours with some breaks here and there,” sophomore Aaron Zavala said. Especially when I’m bored.” 

The video-sharing app that debuted in 2016 has dominated social media, contributing significantly to teens’ online screentime. “The share of teens who say they are online constantly has roughly doubled from 2014-2015 (46% now and 24% then),” according to pewresearch.org.

A screen capture from the TikTok announcement that teens’ time on the app will be limited “in the coming weeks.”

It has surpassed YouTube in usage, and Pew recorded that about one in five teens used YouTube “almost constantly” in April and May of 2022. 

“TikTok has continued to dominate with younger users. By the end of 2021, kids and teens were watching an average of 91 minutes of TikTok per day compared with just 56 minutes per day spent watching YouTube, on a global basis,” Sarah Perez wrote in techcrunch.com.   

The Pew 2022 survey also found that 54% of teens surveyed report it would be very or somewhat hard to give up social media, with older teens more likely to agree. 

“Yes, TikTok is addictive, but I believe that I can manage my time on TikTok on my own,” sophomore Evony’e Simmons said.   

While TikTok believes that users under the age of 18 might just need a screen time limit, young users think otherwise. “There’s no chance in my mind that it will fix the screen time problem, people will just go to the Snapchat reels, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts,” said Sean Baker, a junior. 

The platform has become a sensation worldwide, and its user-base continues to grow. But with such a big user-base, more attention is being paid to its potential problems.  

“Yeah, TikTok can be bad, but I don’t think it should be gatekept from its users,” Zavala said.