A series of new controls are being introduced to popular video sharing websites which allow users to set the viewing limits and then an alert would pop-up which would ask the users to “take a break.” These new features would roll out through apps of all these companies that limit the ability to send notifications. Another update would give users an overview of their binge behavior to make better-informed decisions about their viewing habits.
Users would get a reminder after every 15, 30, 60, 90 and 180 minutes with the ‘Take a Break’ feature added in the apps. Users could also dismiss the reminder and continue keep on watching the video.
A new feature would be added which allow users to disable the sound of notification during specific time period. When users turn on disable notifications by default it would disable them from 10 PM to 8 AM, user could change the time as per the requirement.
An alternative feature would also be added regarding the notification in which all the daily push notifications would be combined in a single notification which would be sent out only once in a day. By default it would be turned off but could be turned on in the app’s settings. The feature named as ‘Scheduled Digest’.
And the companies are preparing to roll out a “time watched profile”. Time watched profile would be appear in Account menu which has the feature to display daily watch time, total time of the user’s watching that day, previous day and over the past week. A set of tools would be also there which will help the user to manage viewing habits.
The Digital Well Being Movement
It won’t be the only change making the rounds in the near future. Google announced some Android features also which will help users handle their phones in a better way while also giving the ‘Do Not Disturb facility’ and ‘Wind Down’ mode for night time usage.When DND will be switched on, the screen would turn to gray scale, and silence the alerts once the phone is flipped.
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, wrote a novel named “Digital Well Being”, in which Google’s efforts on these features are mentioned. The company touts features in other products that save users time, like Editing tools of Google photos; Alert of important emails notified by Gmail’s high-priority feature; Family Link’s tools which reduces kids’ screen time; Driving reduction tools distracted by Android Auto; ‘Internet breaks’ supported by Google Wi-Fi; The ability of Google Assistant to turn on DND mode of the phone or start a “bedtime routine” in which lights get dim and music get turned off.
Analysts of Facebook state that, “In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information – reading but not interacting with people – they report feeling worse afterwards.”
According to Facebook’s point of view, ‘Take a Break’ feature would also help users to boycott the unwanted friends by hiding the posts of the selected people and non-visibility of the names in the tagging list. Kelly Winters, the Product Manager of Facebook, takes this feature as a part of Facebook’s ongoing effort to reduce the problems and overcome the difficulties faced during the worst relationships. Kelly said, “We hope these tools will help people end relationships on Facebook with greater ease, comfort and sense of control.”
Facebook implemented the changes itself but tools provided by Google require an opt-in. It is up to the users to control their own technology addictions. ‘Take a Break’ option would be on the top of the setting screen of YouTube. User, who will enter in the settings for any reason, would surely see it.
Neal Mohan, the Chief Product Officer of YouTube stated that, “An average viewing session on YouTube won’t be more than 60 minutes and 70 percent of the time; it is influenced by YouTube’s auto recommendation feature”. Neal added, “The new, ‘Take a break’ feature can help to reduce the user’s addiction. However, it’s still up to the user to abide by it”.
The new features are available on both all of phones, only with updated versions of the apps.