(Photo : Pexels/cottonbro) TikTok has a new privacy settings to protect minors

TikTok has announced that it will have a new set of enhanced privacy settings that will restrict certain features of the app for its younger teens and it will change the app's default settings on accounts that belong to older teens who are under 18 years of age.

TikTok enhances privacy settings

The apps biggest changes will directly affect the youngest users of TikTok, those that are between the ages 13 and 15, who will now have their accounts changed to private by default.

The change applies to new sign-ups too as existing accounts that may have previously been set to public. The app is also changing the default setting for comments, which can now only be set to "no one" or to "friends".

Finally, TikTok is restricting how other users can interact with the uploads created by younger users, those who are 15 years old and below. These videos can no longer be remixed or downloaded by other users through the app's Duet or Stitch features.

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The app is also set to making changes for older teens who are 16 and 17 years of age. For these types of accounts, TikTok will still allow their uploads to be remixed with Stitch and Duet, but the default setting for the feature will be automatically changed to "friends only." Also, the older teens can have he option to make their videos available for download however the setting will be turned off by default.

Once the new rules are applied, the new settings could change how TikTok's minor users interact with others on the app. They may also be unpopular, as longtime users of the app are likely to be frustrated at having new restrictions appear on their accounts overnight.

On TikTok's part, they stated that the changes are aimed at having higher default standards for the safety and the privacy of all of their users, That change is meant to get younger people to think about privacy even at an earlier age.

Unlike the other social media platforms, a massive portion of TikTok's user base is under the age of 18. According to The New York Times, in 2020 as many as a third of the app's users in the United States were under the age of 14. The guidelines of the app allow users under the age of 13 to have limited accounts that can't post videos or comment.

However, privacy advocates have urged for more scrutiny of the app's policies and practices toward minors, especially young children. While the latest changes don't address all of their concerns, they do make it more difficult for younger teens to interact with those that they don't already know.

TikTok family pairing

In 2020, TikTok gave parents new options to control how their children use the app. The "Family Pairing" option was launched and it gave parents and guardians the chance to link the account of their children to their own account so they can disable any direct messages, they can turn on restricted content mode and set a screen time limit.

Once the two accounts are linked, parent can control the settings of their children's account from their own phone. TikTok had also allowed parents to set passwords on their children's accounts so that the children could not turn off the settings.

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Written by Sieeka Khan

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