Tik Tok Announces Time Limit for Teen Users
On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, the popular social media platform TikTok announced they would be implementing a new feature, which will automatically set a 60-minute daily screen time limit for users under the age of 18. This new feature is a response to growing concerns from parents over the platform’s potential harmful impact on younger users. According to the new guidelines, when the time limit is up, users will be prompted to enter a passcode to continue using the device. For users 13 and younger, parents will be prompted to input a passcode every 30 minutes for their child to be able to continue to use the platform.
TikTok partnered with Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital to determine the length of time for this new screentime limit. Although currently there is not a widely accepted “right” amount of screen time for teens, a promising study by *Tweng and Campbell (2018) found that teens who spend more than seven hours a day on screens are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression. This initiative has not rolled out yet, but TikTok plans to begin implementing this soon.
For more information on social media and mental health, visit our Resource Center or Schedule a Presentation.
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
For the month of February, Crime Stoppers focuses on the issue of Teen Dating Violence (TDV). Also called intimate partner violence, TDV includes physical, psychological, sexual, and electronic abuse, and can happen with a current or former partner. Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name-calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship, but these behaviors can become abusive and develop into serious forms of violence. Other common forms of TDV include:
- sending repeated and unwanted messages
- cyberstalking (constantly checking location via social media or another app)
- pressuring a partner to perform sexual acts or send explicit pictures
- frequently criticizing and humiliating their partner
- refusing to take accountability for their bad actions
- forbidding a partner from talking to certain people
- spreading rumors about sexual activity
- going through a partner’s phone without permission
Many teens do not report unhealthy behaviors. 33% of adolescents in America experience some form of dating abuse, but only one-third of students experiencing TDV ever report it1. Part of that is due to students not recognizing the forms of abuse they see, but another reason is because of the fear and stigma around being victimized by a partner. At Crime Stoppers, not only do we seek to prevent violence in our community, but we are also here to support those that have been, or are currently being, victimized. For victims of TDV, it is important to remember that there are ways to keep yourself safe from your abuser, even at school.
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in any school receiving federal funding, including all public K-12 schools and most universities2. Under this law, sexual harassment and other forms of dating violence are illegal. Schools have a legal obligation to respond to any reported cases of TDV and ensure that they are providing a safe environment for all of their students in class, during field trips, and even on school buses. Under Title IX, schools have a responsibility to be proactive in ensuring their campus is free from sex discrimination by having the following:
- readily available policy against sex discrimination
- procedure for students to file complaints, and
- Title IX coordinator on campus to whom reports of discrimination can be made
Upon receiving a report of discrimination, schools must take immediate action. Even if the police are conducting their own investigation, schools are required to investigate separately. Schools must also take the necessary steps to ensure the victim is protected against retaliation from the alleged attacker, their friends, and faculty. Upon completion of their independent investigation, schools must notify the student how the complaint was resolved. Possible resolutions include transferring the attacker to another school, expelling them, or issuing a no-contact order.
Under no circumstances is a school allowed to punish a student that reports discrimination – they shall not force them to change schools, leave a team, or change an extracurricular activity, nor are they allowed to “run out the clock” on a complaint.
As always, prevention is key. Title IX exists as a resource for those that have already been victimized, but preventing all forms of violence, and keeping children and youth safe, is paramount. By modeling respectful relationships – having healthy disagreements, setting boundaries, communicating honestly – and interrupting dating violence when we see it, we can ensure teenagers experience relationships that are happy, fun, and safe.
- org, 2014
- ACLU, 2011
Our Podcast Returns With Season 5!
Season 5 of our podcast, The Balanced Voice with Rania Mankarious started today!
Episode 57 is the first episode of a multi-part series on the fentanyl crisis in America. In this episode, Rania and this season’s co-host Jennifer interviewed Harris County Sheriff Deputy Leggett about her near-death experience after being exposed to fentanyl while on a service call. Together, they dive into what happened and the immediate action she took that saved her life.
Special thank you to our Season 5 sponsor Flip Lok for making this episode possible. Learn more about Flip Lok at www.fliplok.com.
On KHOU: Houston teens blackmailed with fake nude photos
“They’re taking those photos and they’re manipulating them, creating highly sexualized sometimes pornographic content and then using it for extortion and blackmail.”
Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious speaks to Lauren Talarico on KHOU 11 about how online predators are using kid and teen pictures taken from social media sites like SnapChat and Instagram and manipulating them to extort them.
*What should children and parents know about sextortion?
Crime Stoppers recommends victims do the following:
- Stop all commutations.
- Document everything.
- Do not give them money or meet any other demands.
- Report it to the FBI, Internet Crimes Against Children and local officials.
- Post on social media that this has happened to warn other contacts.
- Talk honestly with your kids.
Watch full story here:
This is why we do what we do.
This is why we do what we do.
On October 25, on The Roula & Ryan Morning Show on KRBE, the mother of Julian Castro called in to talk her son’s tragic death on June 6, 2022. We have been helping the Castro family since they day he was murdered to help find the senseless suspects who forced their way into his home, shooting and killing him for unknown reasons.
Please take a moment to listen to her plea: https://www.facebook.com/CrimeStoppersOfHouston/videos/579518063928733
There is now an increased reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the suspect(s) in this case.
Julian’s family and friends have been devastated by this loss. It has been nearly five months since he was killed, and the killers are still out there. We will continue to help the Castro family, and so many others, seek justice for their loved ones.
Call 713-222-TIPS(8477) if you have ANY information.