YouTube’s set of “digital wellbeing” tools have been enhanced with a new “Time Watched” feature. The tool lets YouTube players know for how long they have been watching videos of cats, people falling over, classic television or whatever has caught their eye. Data relating to video watching runs from the current day and back over the previous seven days.
The idea behind the YouTube tool is to provide more information upfront to users and to allow heavy users to place a limit on the amount of time they spend screen gazing. The app also allows a message to be sent, reminding people to take a break, as TechCrunch reports.
The new YouTube feature is calculated based on a person’s YouTube watch history. This means that if someone deletes videos from their history or has watched them in Incognito Mode, these videos will not be counted. Furthermore, if viewing history is paused, statistics will not be gathered.
Current tools on YouTube include reminders to take breaks after a set amount of video watching, restricting notifications to one per day, and disabling notification vibrations/sounds between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Social media can be addictive, and this is something not only acknowledged by academics but also by those involved with generating content. Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker has admitted he knew he and Mark Zukerberg were creating something addictive that exploited “a vulnerability in human psychology” from the outset. He adds, in an interview with The Guardian: “It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other. It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”