Instagram is acting on its promise to encourage healthier social media habits. Social network head Adam Mosseri has revealed that Instagram started testing its hinted-at “Take a Break” feature this week. Opt in and the app will remind you to do something else after 10, 20 or 30 minutes, whether it’s a to-do list item or just listening to your favorite tune.
You’ll see the option in the “coming days” if you’re part of the test. Mosseri hoped to launch the feature for everyone in December. He stressed that Instagram would “take feedback” and refine the design, so you might not have to worry if it doesn’t function as you’d hoped.
There may already be room for improvement. Like a previous time limit feature, Take a Break doesn’t strictly enforce the pauses. You can simply tap “done” and continue scrolling. You’ll have to turn to digital health or parental control features like iOS’ Screen Time or Android’s Digital Wellbeing to force yourself or a child to do something else.
This is still an improvement, though, and may help if you just need a gentle reminder to put down your phone. Not that Instagram or its parent Meta have much choice. The company is under pressure from regulators and whistleblower Frances Haugen, both of which have accused Meta of focusing too much on hooking users and not enough on caring for them. Take a Break is a step toward more that more responsible approach — it’s just a question of whether or not that step is large enough.
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