Even Instagram Wants You to Take a Break From Instagram

Even Instagram Wants You to Take a Break From Instagram
Photo: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / Contributor, Getty Images

Suddenly very concerned about your well-being in a way that has been not at all influenced by recent U.S. Senate hearings, Instagram is reportedly experimenting with a new “Take a Break” feature that will encourage users to do just that.

In a post on — where else? — Instagram, CEO Adam Mosseri explained that the new feature is an opt-in control, meaning you’ll have to enable it manually, that “enables you to receive break reminders in-app after a duration of your choosing.”

What we’re starting to test this week on Instagram is one that I’m actually personally very excited about. It’s called “Take a Break,” and it does what you think it does. If you opt in, it encourages you take a break a break from Instagram after you’ve spent a certain amount of time on the app — 10, 20, 30 minutes.

We’ve worked with third-party experts and gotten advice on what tips there should be and how to frame taking a break.

If you scroll for longer than your preferred amount of time, the prompts will kick in to gently ask if it’s “Time for a break?” followed by a little prompt that will help you to refocus on something a little bit healthier.

In a photo accompanying the video Mosseri posted, a hypothetical Instagram screen shows that some of the “expert-backed” tips the platform plans to include for users include:

  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Write down what you’re thinking
  • Listen to your favourite song
  • Do something on your to-do list

The new feature comes amid increased congressional scrutiny of claims that Instagram is harmful to its teen users, with women hit particularly hard. According to an internal report obtained by the Wall Street Journal, “32% of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.”

“Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves,” researchers said in the March 2020 presentation reviewed by the Journal.

According to Mosseri, the new feature is expected to roll out to a small percentage of the Instagram community this week and, if successful, will be expected to launch at some point in December.