Monitoring Time on Instagram

StockSnap_R0OCZIJAEFThere’s no doubt about it, Instagram is incredibly popular. As one of the most frequently used sites among adolescents, it’s easy to get sucked into the endless photos and videos, as well as the various accounts of friends, peers, celebrities, and influencers. This isn’t even considering the Instagram Stories, IGTV, and direct messaging. Basically, Instagram can waste a lot of time.

Just like Apple rolling out their Screen Time and Google’s Digital Wellbeing features that they have included in their most recent updates, you may have noticed that Instagram has their own timing feature that is exclusively just for the app. Simply go to your profile page, click the top right button, and go to the first tab titled “Your Activity.” It can feel a little overwhelming, where the app will tell you your daily average over the past week, and you can specifically see how much time you’ve spent on Instagram each day over the last seven days.

While not as strict as the operating systems, Instagram also gives you the opportunity to remind you how much time you’re spending on the app. If you think you waste a lot of time on it, Instagram gives you the option to send you reminders if you’ve reached a certain limit, but won’t completely lock you out of the app. reminder-23771_1280

Unlike iPhones and Androids, which measure how much time you’re spending on all social media apps, Instagram measuring your activity specifically for the app can feel more relevant, because it is so popular and frequently used. This is opposed to other apps that qualify as “social media” but may not be used as often, or may not even be considered by some as social media, like Facetime. This is also important considering that Instagram is not just one of, but thought to be the worst social media network for mental health. By being able to see how much time you spend on it, you can start to take control and make a conscious effort to reduce that number and make it a challenge for yourself. However, monitoring your app usage can also have the opposite effect, because not meeting those goals can make you feel guilty and even worse about yourself.

Then again, activity monitoring is always optional. It’s ultimately up to you to determine how you want to use social media and how often you want to be on them. Lately though, there has been an increase in ways to control and monitor your usage in case you feel the need to start.

(Ironically, whether the amount of time you spend examining how much time you’ve spent on the app contributes to your daily activity that measures your time on the app is still unclear. The whole thing is kind of a headscratcher, really.)

Do you think that it’s a good idea for social media apps to tell you how much time you’re spending on them? Do you think that there could be negative effects with timed activity?

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Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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