New TikTok privacy features for teens include notifications curfew

TikTok is bringing new privacy protections designed to make the app less likely eat into teenagers’ sleep time, such as automatic notifications muting after 9pm and 10pm, and more.


  • Several settings went from enabled to disabled by default
  • For teens, notifications are disabled after 9pm or 10pm
  • Video downloads are also turned off for teen accounts
  • New pop-ups all over the place to communicate the changes

Three iPhone screenshots of TikTok's privacy protections for teens, left to right: TikTok loading screen, video downloads settings and privacy settings related to video viewing

TikTok strengthens privacy with new teen protections

TikTok is introducing new privacy-focused features aimed at teens aged 13-17 who may be sleep-deprived because of the app’s addictiveness or become targeted by stalkers. The company announced the availability of the new features with a post on the TikTok blog.

We believe it’s important to ensure even stronger proactive protections to help keep teens safe, and we’ve continually introduced changes to support age-appropriate experiences on our platform.

Here’s a summary of the changes:

  • Notifications curfew: Underage users will have notifications turned off after 9pm or 10pm
  • New pop-ups: To inform teens of the new privacy settings
  • DMs: Direct messages for teens will be disabled when joining the service
  • Video downloads: Disabled by default for users under 16 years old

TikTok’s new privacy protections for teens are rolling out globally over the coming months.

Notification curfew, DM changes and more

TikTok says any accounts aged 13-15 won’t receive push notifications from 9pm, while accounts aged 16-17 will have push notifications disabled starting at 10pm. Moreover, teens can choose who can watch each new video they upload. Private accounts can now choose to share their content with followers or friends, as the “Everyone” setting is now turned off.

Duet and Stitch are also disabled for accounts under 16.

We’re also providing additional context to help teens aged 16-17 understand how downloads work, so they can choose the option that’s most comfortable for them. If they opt to turn the feature on, they’ll now receive a pop-up asking them to confirm that choice before others can download their videos. Note that downloads are permanently disabled on content from accounts under the age of 16.

When a young person aged 16-17 joins TikTok, their DM setting will be set to “No One” by default (they can change it later in settings). As for existing TikTok users who have never used the direct-messaging feature before, they will receive a prompt asking them to review and confirm their privacy settings the next time they use this feature.

TikTok wrote this about the new popups:

To help teens understand the sharing options available to them we’re now adding a pop-up that appears when teens under the age of 16 are ready to publish their first video, asking them to choose who can watch the video. They won’t be able to publish their video until they make a selection.

Of course, there’s nothing preventing kids from manually going to the TikTok settings to revert some of the newly changed defaults. With the new approach, though, TikTok wants to ensure that underage users joining the platform will enjoy a safe experience that protects their privacy without having to take any additional action on their part.

Keeping TikTok a safe place for teens

As an example, the messaging capability is turned off by default for kids under 16 . Also, the app prevents videos created by kids to be downloaded. New accounts created by teenagers are automatically set to private, with public comments on posts blocked by default.

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TikTok, a Chinese video-sharing platform, has become the most downloaded app of 2020 and is currently the most popular social networking service, beating even Facebook in terms of installed base and engagement.