Digital wellness seems to have become a recurrent theme among technology behemoths of late with Apple and Google both introducing features to help you restrict the time you spend on your phones. Today, Facebook is joining the club too and has announced an update for two of its social apps — Facebook and Instagram — that will add an activity dashboard.
As you’d expect, the dashboard will offer insights on how much you’ve used the apps over the course of a week through neatly produced charts. You can tap on any specific bar to learn the exact amount. In addition, the apps now allow you to set up usage reminders and send a notification as soon as you exhaust your daily time allowance. You can, of course, continue to browse by simply dismissing the alert. Another feature the update brings is the ability to temporarily mute notifications from these apps for a configured period.
On Facebook, the option to view the activity dashboard can be found by tapping the hamburger menu in the bottom-right corner of the app and scrolling down to “Your time on Facebook”. On Instagram, it’s located inside the settings menu as “Your activity” that you can reach by tapping the profile tab and then, the gear icon.
While a nudge can certainly help people who are unable to put their phone down, the approaches Google and Apple have implemented will, I feel, prove more useful. That’s primarily because they essentially block the entire app from launching in the first place. Google, in addition, has also made it harder for users to skip the restrictions. Digital wellbeing features from Google and Apple will be available from the Android P and iOS 12 updates.
“It’s not just about the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram but how they spend that time. It’s our responsibility to talk openly about how time online impacts people — and we take that responsibility seriously. These new tools are an important first step, and we are committed to continuing our work to foster safe, kind and supportive communities for everyone.”, added Facebook in a blog post.