When you’re scrolling through your feed or through Reels on Instagram, minutes can quickly turn into hours. Before you know it, you’ve spent way more time on the social media platform than you anticipated. One way to combat this is by setting a daily time limit on Instagram that notifies you when you’ve been on the app for a certain amount of time. Unfortunately, it looks like a recent Instagram update has removed some options for this mental health feature.
The original time limit feature would allow you to set your limit as low as five minutes per day. Now, the latest update only allows you to set your lowest time limit for 30 minutes. This is a pretty significant increase, and it means that users might spend much longer on Instagram than they intended. Of course, you might say setting an alarm or just watching your time is a solution, but if you’ve gotten used to the feature, it’s pretty annoying to have to switch your routine. The new time limits start as low as 30 minutes and go up to three hours. With this latest update, it does make it seem like Instagram cares less about the well-being of its users and more about getting engagement metrics up. Which isn’t necessarily surprising. Instagram is owned by The Meta after all.
If you haven’t been using Instagram’s daily time limit feature, it’s might be a good time to start. According to a study done by the University of Pennsylvania, cutting your social media time down to 30 minutes a day can do wonders for your mental health and wellbeing. The study revealed that less time on social media caused participants to feel less anxious and decreased their feeling of missing out. With Instagram’s new time limit feature, you can set that 30-minute limit, but it sounds like the more you can cut down on your social media usage, the better. Instagram and other platforms like it are very focused on image, and it can be easy to fall into the thought trap of your life not being as glamourous or fun as people on Instagram.
Another study in 2017 conducted by the Royal Society of Public Health and Young Health Movement also showed the negative effects of too much Instagram. The study showed Instagram had negative effects on body image, sleep quality, and mental health overall.
Now that the time limit options are more limited on Instagram, users are going to have to find other ways to remind themselves to stop scrolling. As mentioned earlier, you could always try setting a phone time instead of relying on the app. Although this might be less convenient, at least you won’t lose track of time as easily.
One thing is certain, less social media is never going to be a bad thing. If you feel like you’re spending too much time on Instagram or other platforms, make sure you take some breaks. No one has to give up social media altogether, but it does help to limit yourself.