Instagram is rolling out a new feature urging teens in Canada and other countries to take a break from the photo and video sharing platform.
Take a Break is a program that encourages teens who have signed up for it to stay on the platform for a certain amount of time, according to a Tuesday morning blog post from Instagram head Adam Mosseri.
The company said that starting Tuesday, the feature is available to any user between the ages of 13 and 18, according to which they self-reported when they signed up for Instagram.
“If someone is scrolling for a certain amount of time, we ask them to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set a reminder to take more breaks in the future,” Mosseri said. “We’ll also show them expert-backed tips to help reflect and reset.”
The company did not specify how long someone would have to be on the app before receiving the notification.
Users must ‘opt in’ to the service
Mosseri said the service will require users to join, but added that teens will “get notifications that they turn on these reminders.”
He said preliminary test results show that once teens set reminders, more than 90 percent of them keep them on.
It’s one of those efforts, renamed Meta Platforms, as it reacts to not doing enough to rein in harmful content and faces new legislation to ban the tech giant. .
Meta is the owner of Instagram.
Mosseri said the service started today in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand and will expand globally next year.
Instagram plans to introduce another new feature in 2022. Mosari said this would alert parents to how much time their teens are spending on the service and limit that time.
The company recently scrapped plans to offer an entirely new service for teens, because social media can harm young minds.
Investigation after whistleblower goes public
Former Facebook product manager turned whistleblower, Frances Haugen, has testified to US and European lawmakers working on those measures. He cited company internal research showing that peer pressure generated by Instagram has led to mental health and body-image problems in younger users, especially girls and, in some cases, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.
Speaking to Congress last week, he urged US lawmakers to move forward with proposals introduced since his first appearance in October. These include restrictions on long-standing legal protections for speech posted on social media platforms.
- Facebook will introduce features on Instagram that will inspire youth to take a break
Haugen has offered guidance on new online regulations that are far ahead in the UK and the European Union, which has pioneered efforts to rein in large technology companies.
The social media platform also said it was developing features that would prevent people from tagging or mentioning teens who don’t follow them, prompting young users to do other things if they’ve been around for a while. Recommends to focus on one topic and be strict about which posts, hashtags, and try to reduce potentially harmful or sensitive content.
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