TikTok’s Effort to Save Young Minds


Elaine Kuang

Tiktok’s screen time usage amongst youth has led to screen time limits for users under 18.

Dallas Mangold

Tiktok addiction. A lot of us are guilty of scrolling through TikTok aimlessly whether it is in the morning after we wake up, in short amounts of free time we have, when we are bored, before bed, etc. Ever since the app’s popularity grew over the pandemic, TikTok has become a staple in most people’s lives. Controversies, trends, and everything we do has some affiliation or was created by someone who posted it to TikTok. Now, TikTok is setting limits for its younger audience, by rolling out 60-minute time limits for users under the age of 18. How effective will this be? We are not sure, but only time can tell of this surprising act.

Research from the Digital Wellness Lab, located at Boston Children’s Hospital, teamed up with TikTok associates to study the effect of TikTok on young minds. The reason for such research is the U.S. fearing the effect of this app on young-minded American citizens. 11-12 year olds usually use TikTok for about 5 hours and 33 minutes a day, while teens use it for approximately 8 hours and 39 minutes a day, the study found. With this information, TikTok decided to take action with their “Underage Time Limits.”

The function of this time limit will be a timer that monitors each user’s moment on the app. Users whose birthdays are under the age of 18 will have one hour of regular tiktok, then will be met with a time limit screen. A passcode can be entered by parents to extend the screen time by 30 minutes, and will continuously do so until parents get tired of entering a password every half an hour. 

A fear most researchers, and parents, have about TikTok and their children are trends affecting the way they act. We all know of at least a few absurd TikTok trends that have shaped people’s lives, but as time goes on the level of absurdity grows on everyone’s For You Page (FYP). With a change in how the next generation acts, parents have called for something like this for a long time. Along with catching the user’s personal data, the app has also dealt with the effect on young minds, pushing them to do drugs, have eating disorders, or in worst cases, committing crimes.

Now there is an issue throwing the blame of such behavior at TikTok as a whole. Could kids not be learning these things from peers? Television? Literature? There is a wide variety of places kids can learn of drugs, refuse to eat, or act “strange in general.” Certain behaviors, such as doing something because you “saw it on TikTok,” obviously aren’t smart so the blame is on you for doing something you know is wrong. The influence is there, but the reason TikTok is being blamed is because of pushing the young mind. 

This generation of young kids were born into a world of technology being the way we behave, work, and run our society. Everywhere we turn there is technology, everything we do involves technology, and the way our kids grow will be on technology. TikTok is the coming of a new age, one that we all find addicting and are all guilty of. This time limit is a step to stop children and their young minds from falling into a technological addiction. Over time more steps and restrictions will be put into place to keep the young generation pure and fresh minded, but in this day and age, it is all but inevitable.