TikTok’s Head of Family Safety & Developmental Health ensures a safe space for children by helping parents control their children’s online experience.
By Tracy Elizabeth
As a mom and the Head of Family Safety and Developmental Health at TikTok, creating a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, especially teens and families, is my top priority. With the support of over 40,000 talented safety professionals, we’re constantly working to develop new features and resources that promote digital well-being.
At TikTok, we believe that empowering people to make informed decisions about their online experiences is crucial. That’s why we offer a range of safety and privacy controls that include restricting access to features, like Direct Messaging for teens aged 13–15 and automatically setting these younger teens’ accounts to private by default. Additionally, content created by teens under 16 is not eligible for recommendation or search results, which was made to protect young people as they build their online presence.
I strongly believe that parents and guardians play a critical role in teens’ mental health, and TikTok is committed to equipping those caregivers with the necessary resources to support them, which is why we’ve developed tools, like our Family Pairing features and Guardian’s Guide to TikTok. These resources are carefully designed to assist parents and caregivers with having conversations about digital safety with their teens, and to decide what type of content experience is most comfortable for their family.
Another way we enhance the safety and wellbeing of our community is with a recently announced feature that limits the daily screen time of people under 18. If a 60-minute limit is reached, teens will be prompted to enter a passcode in order to continue watching, requiring them to make an active decision to extend that time.
At TikTok, we take a mindful approach to when push notifications are released, and we disable them for accounts aged 13-15 starting at 9pm, and accounts aged 16-17 starting at 10pm. We also recently introduced a feature, that is a personal favorite of mine, which empowers account holders to decide what time they want to go offline at night. There are also new ways to customize your screen time limit for each day of the week, as well as the ability to set a schedule to mute notifications.
TikTok believes in providing people with tools and information that equip them to mange their experiences in ways that are most comfortable for themselves as individuals or for their unique families. As a parent, I am particularly proud of the work we’ve done with Content Levels, which helps limit content with mature themes, such as fictional scenes that may be too frightening or intense for younger audiences, from reaching audiences between ages 13-17. We have also introduced a new way to refresh your For You feed if your recommendations are no longer feeling relevant.
These are just a few examples of how TikTok is prioritizing our young users. We work regularly with incredible child safety experts and advocates from organizations like the Digital Wellness Lab, ConnectSafely, FOSI, and many others in order to develop evidence-based features and educational resources for our families.
I am profoundly proud to be part of such a brilliant team and company that is so committed to making TikTok a safe and welcoming space for people of all ages, including our precious youth. With my colleagues, I’m excited to keep developing new features that prioritize the well-being of young users, and support parents and caregivers in using our resources to connect with their families about staying safe online.
Tracy Elizabeth is TikTok’s Head of Family Safety & Developmental Health, with a background in adolescent development, risk prevention, and kids’ media. She oversees TikTok’s policies to keep youth safe and catalogues content based on family comfort. She is a former elementary school teacher and mother to a young daughter.