Earlier in the summer, Facebook and Instagram each promised that users would soon be able to access a suite of digital health tools to help them manage their time on the social networks and promote healthier habits. Today, the companies revealed these tools in a press release and confirmed they will be rolling out to all mobile app users “soon.”
The tools will be found within the settings page on both iOS apps — on Instagram it’ll be called “Your Activity” and on Facebook it’ll be called “Your Time on Facebook.” At the top of the page, the activity dashboard will highlight your daily average time for each app on the device you have it installed on, and below that will be a bar graph detailing exactly how long you spent per day in each app over the last week.
We developed these tools based on collaboration and inspiration from leading mental health experts and organizations, academics, our own extensive research and feedback from our community. We want the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram to be intentional, positive and inspiring. Our hope is that these tools give people more control over the time they spend on our platforms and also foster conversations between parents and teens about the online habits that are right for them.
Below that is “Manage Your Time” section with a few features that focus on customizing push notifications. One is a “set daily reminder” option, which is an alert that notifies you when you’ve reached the amount of time you want to spend on Facebook or Instagram for that day. The other is for “notification settings,” where you can access a new “mute push notifications” option to limit your Facebook or Instagram notifications for a period of time (15 minutes to 8 hours).
Apple has its own time management settings coming in iOS 12, called “Screen Time,” with many of the same features as Facebook’s new activity dashboards. In the Settings app in iOS 12, Apple presents information gathered from overall iPhone use on any given day so that users can see which apps they open the most, which send the most notifications, how often they pick up their iPhone, set “Downtime” limits and app limits, and more.
For Facebook, the company says that the new dashboard tools for managing screen time are just a “first step,” and it will continue to work to develop features that promote digital health on its platforms.