Christian Contreras | The Poly Post

‘TikTok, don’t make us stop.’ CPP community reacts to the app’s new one hour screen time limit

By Christian Contreras and Fabiola Aceves, March 21, 2023

TikTok made an announcement March 1 that all users under the age of 18 would be subjected to an hour screen time restriction, yet users will still be able to bypass the restriction.

Once the hour time limit is up, users will be prompted to enter a passcode to continue their scrolling or can decide to exit the app. Users will be able to opt out of the default hour limit, but if they spend more than 100 minutes a day on the app, they will be prompted to set their own daily screen time limit.

For young users of TikTok, setting a screen time limit can be crucial, particularly given their brains are still growing. Rachel Baumsteiger, an assistant professor of psychology, concurs that improving social skills would result from less use of TikTok.

“I think TikTok tends to be more entertainment-based, not so much research and connecting with people,” Baumsteiger said. “So I would imagine that having less time would be helpful for giving them more time to work on spending time with people in real life and making progress on whatever work or hobbies they’re interested in.”

TikTok is a widely popular app, with thousands of students and campus-associated organizations having profiles on the platform.

“Definitely overall, probably finding ways to limit people’s usage in reasonable ways is a valuable thing,” said sociology Professor Faye Linda Wachs. “I think the other side to that though is that you can get to TikTok videos through all these other ways. Almost everyone who’s got a TikTok is putting those TikToks on Instagram, on Facebook, on YouTube, so I don’t know how effective that would be.”

Wachs consistently makes an effort to prevent her 10-year-old son from using electronics in order to steer clear of particular social media elements. She does, however, face many obstacles.

“It’s so hard to lock someone out of media if they want to get into it and they’re smart. Yeah, you (TikTok) can set all the time limits you want … people will get around them if they want to,” said Wachs. “But it is a good discussion to have about managing your time and taking control of that for yourself.”

The hour time limit might be an idea that would be relatively new to some users but not CPP business student Dafne Escobedo. Escobedo expressed how she herself already has a self-imposed timer on the app.

“I personally do have my time limit on, I believe I have it for like an hour or two, so when it does come up for me personally, I do take it as like, ‘OK, I’ve been here a little too long,’” Escobedo said.

Escobedo also has a 17-year-old sister, and like her, her younger sister has set a time limit for herself on the app and agrees that it is a useful feature. Escobedo claims that although this feature will be somewhat controversial, it will be advantageous for future generations.

“What I think might end up happening is a lot of them will just put in the code and just continue on,” Escobedo said. “Just out of spite, I think, because they’re being forced to get this one-hour time limit, but I think that if they choose to, then it could be beneficial.”

Alondra Talavera is a business student who, although has not implemented a timer on her own for her apps, is considering the idea.

“(With) TikTok, you just watch one video about one subject and then you just go to another one and it’s a different subject and it’s just really hard to, you know, stay focused on a single subject,” Talavera said.

She discussed the hour time restriction would be a useful feature of the app and thinks that this update demonstrates TikTok’s concern for its users.

“TikTok is just more you know, caring for our well-being, like their users’ well-being, and I don’t see it as a way of them taking away my freedom, but more like showing that they care about their consumers and stuff,” said Talavera.

Feature image by Christian Contreras

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