Instagram starts testing "Take a Break" reminder

Facebook, or rather Meta now, and Instagram have recently come under fire for how the company allegedly prioritized profits through network traffic over users' mental health, especially younger users. Although Facebook naturally denied the accusations, Instagram promised that it would implement features that will at least try to get users to stay mentally sane. The first of those features is now rolling out to a few users to remind them to stop scrolling through the feed from time to time.

"Take a Break" is exactly as it sounds, nudging Instagram users to pause once in a while. This, of course, applies to those heavily addicted to using the social networking app continuously for more than just a few minutes. While helpful, there are still some caveats that might make it less effective, though those kinks can be ironed out before it rolls out to all users.

For one, this is still optional, and you have to explicitly enable it rather than being a default feature, though that's understandable since this is still a voluntary experiment. For it to actually be useful, Instagram will probably have to enable it by default when it rolls out or prompt users to select their time limit when the feature becomes available. At the moment, there are only three preset durations of 10, 20, and 30 minutes in addition to completely disabling the reminder.

Instagram should probably also devise a way to actually enforce taking a break. For this test drive, users can simply dismiss the reminder and continue scrolling. Given human nature, that practically defeats the entire purpose of reminding users to take a break.

The biggest caveat is that this "Take a Break" reminder is still an experiment and, depending on user feedback, could be scrapped entirely. If all goes well, however, Instagram hopes to roll it out to the general population by December, just in time for when social networks are flooded by holiday posts.