Instagram launches ‘nighttime nudges’ tool aimed at teen safety

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By Dan Sears

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Instagram is introducing a new feature designed to send underaged users packing when it’s time for bed.

In a blog post published Thursday, tech giant Meta, owner of the app, announced a “nighttime nudges” tool they hope will encourage youngsters to prioritize downtime over anxious-making doomscrolling.

The prompt will be triggered after detecting use of interactive tools like direct messages and Reels for longer than 10 minutes late at night.

“Time for a break?” reads a mock-up of the alert. “It’s getting late. Consider closing Instagram for the night.”

Meta said that it’s introducing the new feature because “sleep is important, particularly for young people.”

Meta said that it’s introducing the new feature because “sleep is important, particularly for young people,” according to a new blog post. Getty Images
“Time for a break?” reads a mock-up of the alert. “It’s getting late. Consider closing Instagram for the night.”

The move comes after the company announced it would restrict content shown to teens on Instagram and Facebook, making it harder to see potentially harmful content related to suicide, self-harm or eating disorders.

If teens search related terms or keywords, Meta will hide the related search results and instead direct users to hotlines and resources to get help, should they need it.

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Settings for teenage users will also automatically be set to the maximum restrictions on Instagram and Facebook, the company wrote in a blog post this month.

The platforms also introduced a new tool for parents to supervise their child’s social media activity, granting them access to data such as time spent online or the ability to set scheduled breaks.

Meta has been embroiled in controversy after being hit with allegations about allowing teens to view potentially harmful content regarding suicide and eating disorders. Getty Images/iStockphoto

In October 2023, Meta was hit with a lawsuit from 33 states that alleged the company’s platforms were causing widespread “damage” to the mental health of American youths.

The platforms have fallen into hot water after being accused of worsening body image and mental health of its young users, and its critics have called the apps addictive.

Then, in November, a former Meta employee testified before a Senate subcommittee that Meta was aware of the potential harms teens face on its apps but failed to take action against the behavior.

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