TikTok will start offering users reminders to log out of the app, in a bid to reduce smartphone dependency.
The popular social media app has announced that it is introducing a tool to give people more control over their time on TikTok by sending them Screen Time notifications after a certain period, which can be set by users.
TikTok users will also have access to a Screen Time dashboard providing data on how much time they spend on the app, how often they open it and a breakdown of daytime and nighttime usage. . Young app users between the ages of 13 and 17 will receive feel-good messages if they use the app for more than 100 minutes in a single day.
In a statement, the company said, “We hope these new digital wellness tools will continue to support our community by fostering a positive relationship with TikTok.”
Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters and Advisor to TikTok, said: “Research has shown that younger users would welcome the introduction of built-in features and settings that both challenge them to think critically about the time they spend online, but also encourage them to use the settings to actively manage the time they spend on the app.
“It’s important that they feel in control of their online experiences and are supported to make informed choices. We look forward to TikTok developing more features that will put children’s well-being at the heart of their design choice.
Am I addicted to social media?
Social media addiction has skyrocketed since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, with surveys estimating a 50-70% increase in internet usage. People check their phones an average of 58 times a day, with some people spending up to nine hours a day in front of screens.
Dr David Greenfield, founder of the world’s first internet rehabilitation, told the Daily Star that these apps are like “a slot machine”.
He said, “There are many reasons why the internet is addictive. But the main reason is that the internet is the biggest slot machine in the world and a smartphone is the smallest in the world.”
“People are conditioned by their devices to get those dopamine hits.”
Many symptoms of Internet addiction are similar to those of other substances:
- Constantly thinking about social media or wanting to use social media
- Conceal your use of social media
- Difficulty sleeping, weight loss, or lack of concentration
- Problems at work or school
- Irritable moods or social isolation
Hopefully, initiatives like TikTok’s new Screen Time tools will help people regain control of their social media usage so it can be enjoyed rather than binged.