Instagram Introducing Tool Allowing Parents to Monitor How Much Time Kids Spend on App

Instagram launched a new tool on Tuesday, and announced more to come, striving to encourage parents and children to spend less time on the app.

The newest feature, "Take A Break" alerts users when they have been active on the app for a certain amount of time allotted, and is now available for app users in the U.S., United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and Australia.

Instagram will send out notifications to users about the new tool and how to set up the timers and reminders.

Instagram announced the new feature today with a post on their website from Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram.

"It's important to me that people feel good about the time they spend on Instagram, so today we're launching 'Take A Break' to empower people to make informed decisions about how they're spending their time. 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. We'll also show them expert-backed tips to help them reflect and reset," Mosseri wrote.

Instagram has also announced another new tool specifically for parents that will be available in early 2022 that not only allows parents to monitor how much time their children spend on the app, but gives them the ability to set time limits for their children's scrolling habits.

These new time-limiting tools are one of the first steps from Instagram to encourage more people to spend less time on social media.

Instagram App
Instagram launched a new tool on Tuesday, and announced more to come, striving to encourage parents and children to spend less time on the app.This Friday, Aug. 23, 2019 photo shows the Instagram app icon on the screen of a mobile device in New York. Jenny Kane/Associated Press

It's one of the efforts that Facebook has touted on its platforms as it weathers backlash about not doing enough to rein in harmful content and faces new legislation looking to impose restrictions on tech giants.

Former Facebook product manager turned whistleblower Frances Haugen has testified to U.S. and European lawmakers working on those measures, citing internal company research suggesting that peer pressure generated by Instagram has led to mental health and body-image problems in young users, especially girls, and in some cases, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.

She spoke again last week to Congress, urging U.S. lawmakers to move forward with proposals introduced after her first appearance in October. That includes restrictions on the long-standing legal protections for speech posted on social media platforms.

Haugen also has offered guidance on new online rules that are much further along in the U.K. and European Union, which has pioneered efforts to rein in big technology companies.

The social media platform also said it's developing features that will stop people from tagging or mentioning teens that don't follow them, nudge young users to other things if they have been focused on one topic for a while and be stricter about what posts, hashtags and accounts it recommends to try to cut down on potentially harmful or sensitive content.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.