21 Sep TikTok launches more support for mental health
In a recent blog, I explored the backlash Instagram received when England men’s football team experienced racial abuse after the Euro 2020 tournament. In response, Instagram launched restrictive tools to combat this and take action against hateful and abusive content. Now we are seeing more social media apps, like TikTok, follow suit.
TikTok is a video-sharing social networking app, famous for kickstarting trends and viral dances with its one billion monthly active users. It was named as the most downloaded app of 2020 and is hugely popular among Generation Z – putting its younger users at risk of being exposed to negative content. Fortunately, TikTok is focussing on its communities’ wellbeing…
What has been rolled out?
TikTok has recognised some creators use the platform to share life experiences and raise awareness of important topics. The app announced “we care deeply about our community, and we always look for new ways in which we can nurture their well-being.” To support its users’ safety, TikTok has introduced well-being guides developed with the guidance of mental health associations, such as the Samaritans. These guides are easy to access and are designed to support struggling individuals and give other users a platform to share tips with those who may be affected.
As well as guides, TikTok has also expanded its search interventions, which directs users to local support resources if they search for specific words or phrases such as #suicide. Warning notices on sensitive content have been updated and improved.
Social media sites, such as Instagram, have previously come under fire for not doing enough to support users, with the content on these platforms sometimes leading to mental health impacts on teenage audiences. And rightly so – social media platforms have a responsibility to care for their users, so it is promising to see TikTok taking steps to not only shield viewers from potential harm, but also offer support and resources if needed.
These are not the only tools TikTok has launched to protect its young audience’s wellbeing. The app has claimed users aged 13-15 will not receive push notifications from 21:00, while 16- and 17-year-olds will have notifications off from 22:00. This is to help them focus on work, study, relaxation, and sleep – an unconventional move for a social media app.
Keep the new tools coming
These new tools will enhance the user experience, providing a safer and more comfortable environment for the app’s younger users. The power of technology is incredible for giving users access to content that makes them laugh, helps them stay connected and take part in fun, viral trends. But with so much content being uploaded every second, social media apps play a crucial role in protecting vulnerable users.
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