TikTok rolls out privacy and digital wellbeing changes to protect teens

TikTok is the latest company in recent days to announce new features aimed at keeping younger users on its platform safe. The changes are targeted at teens under the age of 16, as well as some less drastic changes for users who are ages 16 and 17. Changes include pop-ups, restrictions, and fewer push notifications during certain times of the day.

One of the biggest changes announced by the platform involves its Direct Messages feature. Going forward, TikTok says DMs will be disabled by default for new accounts and that existing accounts that haven't used the feature will get a prompt encouraging them to review their settings. This change applies to users who are 16 and 17.

As well, TikTok will start showing prompts for users under the age of 16 when they attempt to share their first video; this will require them to select who is allowed to view the content. TikTok says that from now on, users will be able to make this decision on every video published.

Users ages 16 and 17 likewise will see a prompt when they turn on the video downloads feature, ensuring they know what the feature allows. Video downloads remain permanently disabled for accounts belonging to users under the age of 16, however.

Rounding out the changes is an adjustment to when push notifications are delivered. Accounts belonging to users ages 13 through 15 will no longer get push notifications after 9 PM and users ages 16 and 17 will no longer get them after 10 PM.