by Larry Magid

TikTok, the popular app that allows users to share short (typically 15 second) videos announced Family Pairing to give parents greater control over their teen’s safety setting. The feature, which could be very useful for families with younger teens, allows parents to link their TikTok account with their teen’s to control time management, restrict potentially inappropriate content and turn off their teen’s ability to exchange direct messages with other users. Starting On April 30th, TikTok will automatically disable direct messaging for users under 16.

In a blog post, TikTok’s Turst & Safety officer, Jeff Collins, said the company is “advancing our commitment to building for the safety of our users by introducing Family Pairing, which allows parents and teens to customize their safety settings based on individual needs. “

According to Collins, the new Family Pairing, will enable parents to:

  • Control how long your teen can spend on TikTok each day.
  • Limit the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
  • Restrict who can send messages to the connected account, or turn off direct messaging completely

Collins said that the company has partnered with “top creators to make short videos that appear right in the app and encourage users to keep tabs on their screen time.  And that, even without enabling family paring, “parents can help their teen set Screen Time Management and Restricted Mode by visiting the app’s Digital Wellbeing controls at any time.”

For more on TikTok safety, see ConnectSafely’s Parent’s Guide to TikTok and TickTok Quick-Guide for Parents and Teens.

Disclosure: TikTok is one of the tech companies that provides financial support for ConnectSafely.