Can this curb your addiction?

Can this curb your addiction?

Facebook and Instagram also set to roll out tools to tell you how hooked you are to social media browsing


YouTube has rolled out a new feature that helps you manage the time you spend on it. The feature, it says, is an attempt to allow users to take charge of their digital life.

You can now go to your YouTube profile and get details of time spent on the app today, yesterday and the past week. You also get a daily average under the tab ‘Time Watched’.

YouTube now offers tools that remind you to ‘take a break’ from notifications. You can also disable sound for a specific period.

Kala Balasubramanian, counselling psychologist and psychotherapist at Inner Dawn Counselling and Training services LLP, categorises social media users into three types: people who use it extensively with awareness, people who use it extensively without awareness, and people addicted to it.

“If you fall into the second category, this feature will make no or very less impact on your social media usage. However, if you know you are spending too much time and want to get out of it, keeping a tab on the usage can be beneficial,” says Kala.

The addicts need help, she advises. Such well-being tools being introduced by social media giants like Google can be seen as a recognition of the extent of damage excessive social media usage can cause, she says.

Social media should not be used to the point of damage to ourselves and our relationships, but users must be ready to help themselves, she urges.

“This message necessarily needs to be learned at a social level in our families, schools and colleges and workplaces too. The tool can only attempt to help us, we need to help ourselves,” she says.

Not just YouTube, but Facebook and Instagram have also announced they would soon add controls to help people measure how much time they are spending on these sites.

Swaraj Barooah, policy director, Centre for Internet and Society, Bengaluru, says the feature is a “weak step.”

“I have tried out the feature and it is more like the snooze button of an alarm: one can dismiss it immediately or change the settings. Even to get to the settings takes an active effort.
People by default will go with default settings,” he says.

He sees the feature as an ‘eyewash’: social media giants can now claim they have done something to curb addiction without actually doing anything effective.

“The algorithm feeds on people’s vulnerability. It would be better to see these platforms offering more transparency in how
algorithms are viewing people so that people can choose what they want to see and not what the algorithms are determining for them,” he says.

Find it here

Feature works only on YouTube mobile app.

Go to account profile and click on ‘Time Watched’

Stats appear of your activity that day, the previous day and the previous week.

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