Instagram will soon ask you to ‘Take a Break’

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instagram will soon ask you to take a break

Instagram has announced it will be beginning to test out a new feature called “Take a Break” (and no, unfortunately it’s not to have a KitKat).

The main focus of “Take a Break,” as you might have guessed already, will be to try to get users to spend less time on social media by “taking a break” from screen time every now and then. 

The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, yesterday announced that this new feature has already reached a beta stage and should be expected to launch sometime in December. The announcement was made in a video posted to Twitter by Instagram’s main account.

This move is surprisingly unlike Instagram, at least judging from what it has been doing thus far—namely drawing us further and further into the inescapable vortex of doomscrolling endlessly down the social media platform until we lose track of time and reality.

Heck, Instagram was even working to launch an Instagram for Kids over the past months, receiving endless backlash for believing it was “the right thing to do” to get kids involved in social media from a tender young age, albeit with integrated parental controls. (Instagram for Kids is currently being paused, allegedly to allow Instagram to work on more pressing features.)

What “Take a Break” will do is offer users notifications on a regular basis, asking them to pull back and take a break from the platform if they need to. They will not be forced on users, of course, but are available if you choose to opt in from Instagram’s updated Settings in the future.

The notifications will pop up on your screen after you’ve been scrolling for a certain amount of time, such as after ten, twenty, or thirty minutes. We all know how time seems to stop passing while we’re meandering down the seemingly endless posts on our Home feed, and this is meant to jar us back into reality and encourage us to keep better track of time.

These notifications will cover your whole screen, and will need to be clicked away—not just a momentary banner that’s all too easy to ignore. 

They will feature little suggestions to draw you out of the mental vacuum that Instagram can create, encouraging you to “take a moment to reset by closing Instagram,” or to “take a few deep breaths, write down what you’re thinking, listen to your favorite song, do something on your to-do list.”

“Take a Break” is currently being tested on 1–2% of Instagram’s total user base, says Mosseri in the Twitter video posted Wednesday. If all goes well, it should be rolled out to all by next month.

Instagram has long been aware of the addictive and potentially detrimental properties of its platform for daily users, and it has received plenty of criticism for ignoring important statistics such as the harmful effects it can have particularly on teens’ mental health. Since then, Instagram has announced it is creating opt-in parental controls for teens’ Instagram accounts.
Of course, none of it was ever just about us users; it’s all big business—and maybe the the criticism was finally beginning to affect Instagram’s reputation enough to force them into a white knight move, to get back on the good side of frustrated Instagram users.

Do you think Instagram’s upcoming “Take a Break” feature will work as intended, helping us take better care of ourselves and our time? Or do you think we will keep going on as before, as it can be all too easy to ignore such notifications, and even opt back out if they get too annoying? Do let us know in the comments!



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