"Digital well-being" is a buzz phrase getting more play in recent months, as the tech field continues rolling out responses to cautions about excessive use of social media. In addition to staring at screens before bed potentially affecting sleep, poring over your friends' Facebook feeds might be making you depressed, while constantly updating your own profile might indicate you're a narcissist.
Now, Facebook is introducing a new feature that might help curb some of that over-indulgence, as TechCrunch reports. The company recently announced that it's implemented a way for users to monitor their daily usage in minutes. Labeled "Your Time on Facebook" on Facebook and "Your Activity" on Instagram, the function informs you of how much time you've spent enjoying cat videos. (And presumably, how much less time you've spent with your actual cat.) If you activate "Set Daily Reminder," the software will notify you when you've exceeded whatever allotted time you've set for yourself browsing the site. You can also mute notifications for a set time in order to minimize disruptions.
As TechCrunch writer Josh Constine points out, there are some drawbacks. The new feature doesn't tell you how much of your time is spent actively participating in social media—posting, liking, and interacting—and how much is spent passively scrolling content, or what some have dubbed "passive zombie feed scrolling." It's also not a prominent feature; users have to go to "Settings" and then "Your Time on Facebook" to configure the option and evaluate their data.
Obviously, neither Facebook nor Instagram will cut you off once you've reached your self-imposed limit. You'll have to do that yourself.
Wondering how you stack up compared to the rest of the population? In 2016, Facebook said that their average user is logged in to Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger for roughly 50 minutes a day.