Inviting Families To Play Active Role, TikTok Launches Family Pairing Feature
Jakarta, 17 April 2020 – In a bid to improve users' safety, TikTok as the world’s leading short video platform today announced the launch of the Family Pairing feature, supported by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Children Protection (Kemen PPA) Republic of Indonesia and UNICEF Indonesia.
A UNICEF report in 2018 titled Use of Social Media by Children and Adolescents in East Asia mentioned 98.3% of teenagers aged 16-24 years in Indonesia already have smartphones, while 90.7% have used social media.
"More than ever, families are turning to internet platforms like TikTok for entertainment, information, and connection. That was, of course, happening before COVID-19, but it has only accelerated since the outbreak began and social distancing brought families closer together. Even as families express their creativity and share their moments on TikTok, at the same time, they are often learning to navigate the digital landscape together and focused on ensuring a safe experience. With families in mind we've taken a number of steps to improve and enhance our teams, policies, controls, and educational resources. Today, we are taking another step in our commitment by introducing Family Pairing, and along with it setting new limits on direct messaging," said Donny Eryastha as Head of Public Policy of TikTok Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Many users start their creator journey at 14 and are introduced to a wider array of app options for download, making it a critical time for teens and their families to learn about digital literacy and smart online behavior. TikTok offers a number of resources to support users on this journey, including educational safety videos, while encouraging parents to talk with their teens about the code of conduct outlined in TikTok's Community Guidelines to help them understand what responsible community behavior looks like, how to identify and report content that may be in violation, and what it means to be positive digital community members.
The latest Family Pairing feature has been endorsed by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Children Protection and UNICEF Indonesia as an acknowledgement of TikTok's efforts in empowering parents to facilitate smart online behavior for their teens.
"Improving digital literacy for parents to be able to assist their teenagers in cyberspace is one of the main programs of the government. To realize the digital parenting mission, of course, synergy of stakeholder collaboration is needed, including from technology companies such as TikTok," said Bintang Puspayoga, Minister of Women Empowerment and Children Protection (Kemen PPPA), Republic of Indonesia. "We greatly appreciate TikTok's move to launch this feature, where parents can be more involved in creating a safe internet environment for the teenager."
Data from the Commission of Child Protection of Indonesia (KPAI) reveals there are 653 cybercrime cases involving children and adolescents in 2019. A similar report was issued by UNICEF, where the risks of using the Internet without supervision for teenagers include cases of pornography, sexual harassment, radicalism and cyber bullying.
“At a time when teens are spending more time online to connect with their friends and to study, it is important that parents help them navigate the opportunities and risks they face,” said UNICEF Representative Debora Comini. “Parents should talk with their teens regularly about the apps and social networks they use, how much time they spend online, how to ensure that privacy settings are optimized to keep them and their data secure, and whether they have had any online experience they are concerned about.”
This feature, which will be rolled out throughout the coming weeks in Indonesia, will allow parents and teens to customize their safety settings based on individual needs. It enhances TikTok’s suite of safety tools and complements the platform’s work in providing greater access to product features as users reach key milestones for digital literacy. Family Pairing allows a parent to link their TikTok account to their teen's and set controls including:
● Screen Time Management: Control how long your teen can spend on TikTok each day.
● Restricted Mode: Restrict the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all audiences. Even without Family Pairing enabled, parents can help their teen set Screen Time Management and Restricted Mode by visiting the app's Digital Wellbeing controls at any time.
● Direct Messages: Limit who can send messages to the connected account, or turn off direct messaging completely. With user safety in mind, we have many policies and controls in place for messaging already – for example, only approved followers can message each other, and we don't allow images or videos to be sent in messages. Starting April 30, we will be taking those protections one step further as relates to younger members of our community, and automatically disabling Direct Messages for registered accounts under the age of 16.
"We are committed to giving parents insight into, and control over, how their teens use TikTok and helping facilitate important conversations within families about the responsible navigation of digital platforms. We believe these options promote a safer and more trustworthy experience for our users of all ages, but our progress in this area is also never finished. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Empowerment and Children Protection Republic Indonesia, UNICEF Indonesia, and parents to guide their teen's use of features while allowing time to educate about online safety and how to be a good digital citizen,” concluded Donny.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.