TikTok introduces new parental controls

TikTok introduces new parental controls
© LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP

TikTok introduced new features on Wednesday giving parents more control over how their children use the popular short-form video platform.

With the new "Family Safety Mode," parents will be able to control how long users spend on the app, limit their ability to send and receive mentions and restrict content.

The goal of the new mode is to promote the well-being of users, which "means having a healthy relationship with online apps and services," TikTok's Cormac Keenan wrote in a blog post.

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The feature is available in the United Kingdom now and will be rolled out elsewhere "in the coming weeks," according to the company.

The changes come as TikTok's popularity, especially among children and teens, continues to skyrocket globally.

The app has been download well over 100 million times in the U.S., and as it grows so has the scrutiny it has drawn, especially regarding how it deals with minors on the platform.

In December, TikTok and its parent company ByteDance were sued by two families in the Northern District Court of Illinois, alleging that ByteDance tracked, collected and disclosed information — including phone numbers, names and emails — to a third party about minors who used the company's Musical.ly app, which was later rebranded as TikTok.

Under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal law written in 1998 that offers privacy safeguards for children online, developers of apps geared toward children cannot collect personally identifiable information on children under age 13 without consent from parents or legal guardians.

Although TikTok quickly settled that lawsuit a day later, issues persist for the company.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last year announced it had reached a $5.7 million settlement with Musical.ly over a separate complaint about COPPA violations.

Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTrump must cut our dependence on Chinese drugs — whatever it takes Senate passes House's coronavirus aid bill, sending it to Trump Nikki Haley expected to endorse Loeffler in Senate race MORE (R-Tenn.) has called on TikTok to stop collecting data on children.