Facebook and Instagram have announced a new tool that will allow users to limit how much time people can spend scrolling.
The new feature is aimed to tackle tech addiction with tools designed to calculate how much time users spend on the apps, mute notifications for a period of time, and set reminders for when they reach their allocated time.
But some are saying it is “too late”.
Instagram user from Melbourne, Samantha Turner, 23, says social media is a “great escape from reality” and doesn’t think a time limit tool will benefit young Facebook and Instagram users.
“I don’t think it will work,” she says.
“We are too caught up in other people’s lives, and many people like myself spend hours on social media losing track of time.
“It’s a great escape from reality when you are too stressed and have a lot going on.
“It may have had a better chance at being successful if they had introduced this when the apps were being introduced but I think now it’s just too late.”
“And I think because it is optional, not many people will use it because no one admits to their addictions.
“Too many businesses rely on social media to advertise and market their brands.”
Facebook user Briah Riehle from Utah in the United States, 22, says her experience with another screen time tracker does “absolutely nothing” for her.
“I already have an app that tracks my screen time and sends me alerts about how much time I’ve spent on my phone. It’s done absolutely nothing except make me aware I spend 9 or 10 hours a day on my phone.
“This might be helpful for someone who is more proactive about cutting screen time, but for me, it’s just background information.
The announcement of the new time limit tool follows concerns that excessive social media has negative impacts on mental health.
A blog post published by Facebook in 2017 addressed the negative effects passively consuming information has on well-being.
Students from the University of Michigan involved in an experiment were randomly assigned to read through their Facebook feeds for 10 minutes. In the experiment, students were “in a worse mood” at the end of the day compared to those were told to be interactive and post or talk to friends on Facebook.
Vikki Ryall, head of clinical practice at Headspace reminds us that sharing life online lets us edit out any shadow of our reality in an article published on the youth mental health foundation’s website.
“Some fitness, healthy lifestyle and celebrity pages edit, filter and photoshop pictures to perfection,” she writes.
“Young people may be vulnerable to viewing these images and seeking, what can ultimately not be reached this perfection.”