Track Your Social Media Time With New Tools From Facebook and Instagram

Many of us know that we spend too much time on our phones. This has led to a lot of research on negative effects, and there are definitely implications for constantly looking at your notifications and spying on these digital proteins at every opportunity.

We’ve already offered several solutions, from using battery information to find out where you are spending time, to apps like Forest for iOS that gently prompt you to put your phone down for a while. Facebook is now aware of the problem, too, and is launching a way to remind yourself that you are spending too much time on Facebook and Instagram .

On Facebook, you will be taken to the settings page and select “Your time on Facebook”. On Instagram, you will click Settings -> Your Actions. The tools in both applications are essentially the same.

First, you’ll see an activity bar showing your average time for that app on your current device, with access to a view of your total time for that day. Based on this information, you can use other tools.

You can set a daily reminder for a custom interval that will pop up a pop-up notification when you have used up your selected in-app limit for that day. It won’t block you or anything like that, just a gentle reminder that you can change or cancel at any time.

You can also tap Notification Settings and use Disable Push Notifications, a new option that turns off your Facebook or Instagram notifications for a selected period of time from 15 minutes to 8 hours.

This is what interests me the most. I have no qualms about checking Facebook from time to time, but it annoys me that I snuck into Facebook and Instagram just because someone liked my stuff.

Facebook says it “developed these tools through collaboration and inspiration from leading mental health experts and organizations, academics, our own extensive research, and feedback from our community.” They are, of course, putting power in the user’s hands (fingers), since forcing everyone to stop checking Facebook and Instagram is not in the interest of their bottom line. At least we now have built-in tools for working on our own habits.

According to Facebook and Instagram, these changes are “coming soon.”


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