New family-pairing TikTok safety tool getting noticed by lawmakers

Technology

(WTNH) — No doubt you’ve heard your kids say “want to be TikTok famous?” The popular dance and lip-sync app has had a surge in use since COVID-19 hit. But staying connected also means staying safe.

TikTok has released a new family pairing tool to help parents and kids stay safe. It allows you to customize settings, link accounts through a QR-code, and monitor your kids’ usage. That includes limiting screen time, blocking content, and blocking direct messages for users under the age of 16.

Michael Beckerman, Vice President of TikTok Public Policy, explained, “the more they are able to look at it the better they can make a decision for their family household.”

According to a survey of more than 3,000 people by Parents-Together, more than 93% of people surveyed think the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act” passed by Congress should be expanded to include kids aged 13-17. Right now, they aren’t protected.

Rep. Liz Linehan, (D-Cheshire) explained, “It’s very difficult to legislate the internet.”

Rep. Linehan chairs the legislature’s Committee on Children. Her kids are on Tik-Tok. The new pairing tool she says allows families some control. Her office put out a warning last year when a local child was threatened.

“A 10- year-old was lured from TikTok to another chat room where she was asked to make explicit videos,” Rep. Linehan said.

She says lawmakers want to stop online predators “grooming for abuse.” The committee is crafting legislation. In the meantime, she says talk to your kids; it’s about trust.

Rep. Linehan added, “I would tell everyone, if your kids are online you have got to monitor that content and you have to have an open dialogue about the dangers online.”

There’s a top 10 list for parental controls on the phone application. You can find them here.

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