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TikTok Announces New Content Maturity Rating System For Underage Users

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

TikTok Announces New Content Maturity Rating System For Underage Users

By Movieguide® Contributor

Popular video sharing app TikTok plans to roll out new content maturity rating system for videos for users under the age of 18. 

The rating system will organize videos based on “thematic maturity,” and flag videos that contain “mature or complex themes.” It will also give videos a “maturity score.”

A video’s rating will determine whether or not TikTok users under the age of 18 will be able to view it while scrolling through the app. 

“Within these strict policies, we understand that people may want to avoid certain categories of content based on their personal preferences,” TikTok’s Head of Trust and Safety Cormac Keenan said in the announcement about the new system. “Or, for our teenage community members, some content may contain mature or complex themes that may reflect personal experiences or real-world events that are intended for older audiences.”

In addition to blocking inappropriate or sexual content from under-18 users’ feeds, the rating system will also restrict them from seeing fictional scenes that are “too frightening or intense for younger audiences.”

It is unclear how TikTok will verify that a user is over 18. The app already has age restrictions in place, putting those under the age of 12 in the “TikTok for Younger Users experience” category.

This allows parental control and limits interaction with other users. 

Movieguide® previously reported on TikTok’s inappropriate content:

As TikTok continues to grow in popularity among younger generations, so do the red flags raised by medical professionals from across the country.

Mental-health professionals warned parents about the application’s potential to negatively affect users’ mental health, especially for young girls. 

“For a young girl who’s developing her identity, to be swept up into a sexual world like that is hugely destructive,” Paul Sunseri, a psychologist and director of the New Horizons Child and Family Institute, told The Wall Street Journal. “When teen girls are rewarded for their sexuality, they come to believe that their value is in how they look.” 

According to WSJ reporter Julie Jargon, Sunseri notes that around 25% of female patients at his clinic had previously produced sexualized content on TikTok. 

Moreover, TikTok does little to mitigate the algorithms which reward sexual content. 

The app’s parental controls are easy to bypass, and its young demographic means that parents often do not know what their children post. 

The algorithm and lack of accountability trap young girls in a vicious cycle that tells them their worth are in what others think about their bodies, leading to poor mental health.

Carter Barnhart, the co-founder of Charlie Health, said that sexual content wins on the platform.

“Many of them have figured out that the formula for that is producing more sexual content,” Barnhart said.

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