Instagram will 'nudge' teens to close the app at night

The goal is to help young people moderate their social media use and get adequate sleep

Instagram is rolling out a new feature that will encourage teens to rethink how much time they’re spending on the app late at night. 

“Sleep is important, particularly for young people, so we’re launching new nighttime nudges that will show up when teens have spent more than 10 minutes on Instagram in places like Reels or Direct Messages late at night,” Meta wrote in a blog post. “They’ll remind teens that it’s late, and encourage them to close the app.” 

Encouraging more social media breaks

This latest feature aligns with Meta’s updated parental control features, which the company debuted last summer, in addition to other features similar to nighttime nudges, which are geared towards encouraging young people to take breaks from scrolling. 

Last year, the company introduced Quiet Mode on Instagram, which silences all notifications and changes the status of your profile so others know you’re taking a break. If users receive a direct message when in Quiet Mode, they receive an auto-reply indicating as such. 

There’s also the Take a Break feature, which is another parent-focused feature, that was designed to help users think about how much time they’re spending on social media. 

“If someone has been scrolling for a certain amount of time, we’ll ask them to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future,” Instagram wrote in a blog post. “We’ll also show them expert-backed tips to help them reflect and reset.” 

The biggest difference between these features and nighttime nudges is that both Take a Break and Quiet Mode need to be turned on. Younger users won’t have the ability to turn on – or off – nighttime nudges; they’ll receive the notifications automatically based on the age linked to their profiles. 

Meta is under fire

Meta has also come under fire recently, as 43 states are suing the company for knowingly addicting young people to its platforms. 

In the complaint, politicians from both sides of the aisle argue that Meta has misled the public, specifically teens, about the mental health risks associated with long-term social media use. On top of that, the states allege that Meta has collected data on its youngest users, including those under the age of 13. 

As state legislators continue to get involved with kids’ and teens’ social media use, it will be interesting to see how the landscape evolves. 

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