June 23, 2022

TikTok adds new screen breaks and usage tracking tools to improve digital wellbeing

TikTok has added new tools to help users track and manage the time they spend in the appwith pause reminders to limit endless scrolling in the feed, and a new dashboard to monitor screen time.

It also implements mandatory reminders for young users after a certain period of time in the app.

First, on “scheduled breaks” – aAs it seems, TikTok’s new “Scheduled Breaks” option will prompt users to implement break reminders at 10, 20, or 30 minute intervals to avoid spending too much time in the app.

As you can see here, you can also set manual pause reminders, which will at least keep you aware of how long you’re browsing through clips.

The new Screen Time Summary, meanwhile, serves a similar purpose, showing exactly how many hours you’re wasting on trending memes and videos.

TikTok Screen Time Summary

It’s probably not something many TikTok users will want to check out, given the compulsive nature of its algorithmic matching, but you may also need to confront the charts at some point in order to recognize how well these short clips eat away at your free time.

Although this is the main limitation here. For these tools to be effective, people must make the effort to use them.

This is where this element comes into play:

We will also be introducing weekly digital wellness prompts for younger members of our community. When someone aged 13-17 has used the app for more than 100 minutes in a single day, we’ll remind them of our Screen Time Limit tool the next time they open the app.

Of course, it doesn’t require people to set reminders or limits, but it goes a step further by notifying users about their activity, which could help reduce addiction and related issues.

On top of that, TikTok is also launching a new digital wellness guide to highlight the potential harms of overuse.

TikTok Wellness Tools

The updates come amid growing concerns about the negative impacts of online interaction, especially among younger users.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal published an internal research report from Meta which showed that Instagram use can be harmful for teenage girlsespecially considering the addictive nature of the app.

China, meanwhile, is currently considering an expansion of its online gambling restrictions for minors. Last year, the CCP set up limits that give people under the age of 18 just three hours a week of play time for online video games. A the proposed update to this would see the inclusion of live streaming and social media services in these bans, while all apps operating in the region will also have to provide a “youth mode” with varying limits on usage time and content.

In some ways, TikTok may be trying to anticipate this next change, which has become a bigger point of attention in the wake of the pandemic, which has forced many young people to spend more and more time in line.

Improved screen time tracking and reminder tools provide good manual solutions on this front – and given how easy it is to waste hours scrolling through your For You feed, it just might be a a widely used tool, for users of all ages.

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