TikTok will start telling you to turn it off as people say they’re ‘so addicted’

TikTok will begin offering users reminders to log off the app, in a bid to cut down on smartphone addiction.

The popular social media app has announced it is introducing a tool to give people more control over their time on TikTok by sending them screentime notifications after a certain time period, which can be set by users.

TikTok users will also have access to a screen time dashboard providing data on how much time they are spending on the app, how often they open it, and a breakdown of daytime and nighttime usage. Younger users of the app aged between 13 and 17 will get wellbeing prompts if they use the app for more than 100 minutes in a single day.

In a statement, the company said: "We hope these new digital wellbeing tools continue to support our community in fostering a positive relationship with TikTok."

Carolyn Bunting, the CEO of Internet Matters and an advisor to TikTok, said: "The research showed that younger users would welcome the introduction of built-in features and settings that prompt them to both think critically about the time that they are spending online, but also encourage them to use settings to actively manage the time they spent on the app.

"It is important that they feel in control of their online experiences and are helped to make considered choices. We look forward to TikTok developing further features that will put children's wellbeing at the heart of their design choices."

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Do I have a social media addiction?

Social media addiction has skyrocketed since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, with surveys estimated a 50-70% increase in Internet usage. People are checking their phones an average of 58 times a day, with some people spending upwards of nine hours a day in front of screens.

Dr David Greenfield, founder of the world's first Internet rehab, told the Daily Star that these apps are like 'a slot machine'.

He said: "There's lot of reasons why the Internet becomes addictive. But the main reason is that the Internet is the world's largest slot machine, and a smartphone is the world's smallest."

"People are being conditioned by their devices to get those hits of dopamine."

Many symptoms of Internet addiction are similar to those as other substances:

  • Constantly thinking about social media, or wanting to use social media
  • Concealing your social media usage
  • Struggling to sleep, weight loss, or poor concentration
  • Problems at work or school
  • Irritable moods or social isolation

Hopefully, initiatives such as TikTok's new screen time tools will help people take back control of their social media usage so it can be enjoyed, rather than binged.

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