Monitor Your Social Media Time With New Tools From Facebook And Instagram

Image: Robin Worrall, Unsplash

Most of us know we spend too much time on our phones. It’s led to a host of studies on the negative effects, and there are definitely repercussions to constantly peeking at your notifications and following those digital squirrels at every chance you get.

We’ve offered some solutions before, from using your battery info to see where you spend your time to apps such as Forest on iOS that gently encourage you to put your phone down for a while.

Facebook is now recognising the issue as well, and is launching a way to remind yourself that you’re spending too much time on Facebook and Instagram.

On Facebook, you’ll go to your settings page and choose “Your Time on Facebook”. On Instagram, you’ll tap Settings > Your Activity. The tools in both apps are essentially the same.

Image: Facebook

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

You can set a daily reminder for a custom interval that pops up an alert when you’ve spent your chosen limit in the app for that day. It won’t lock you out or anything, just a gentle reminder that you can change or cancel at any time.

You can also tap on “Notification Settings” and use “Mute Push Notifications”, a new setting that quiets your Facebook or Instagram notifications for a selected period of time between 15 minutes and eight hours.

This is the one I’m most interested in. I don’t have a compunction about checking Facebook once in a while, but I do get annoyed with myself for tapping my way into Facebook and Instagram just because someone liked my stuff.

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Facebook says they’ve “developed these tools based on collaboration and inspiration from leading mental health experts and organisations, academics, our own extensive research and feedback from our community”. They put the power in the user’s hands (fingers), of course, since getting everyone to stop checking Facebook and Instagram isn’t in the best interest of their bottom line. At least now we have some built-in tools to work on our own habits.

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


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