Google is slowly but surely realising that people are addicted to their phones — and that it’s not a good thing. The internet giant has announced a feature aimed specifically at helping people track how much time they spend on their devices — and Google’s latest effort to help people track their usage comes in the form of a new “Time Watched” section in the YouTube app, as well as integration with Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature.
Advocacy groups and researchers raised alarms about the negative effects of too much screen time, and now, tech companies are being forced to take action. This has resulted in new, hard-to-catch-on acronyms, like Google’s “JOMO” (the joy of missing out). It’s also led to the speedy roll-out of tools that not only make it easy to see how much time you’re spending tapping through Stories or watching Bad Lip Reading videos, they help you limit yourself.
Our goal is to provide a better understanding of time spent on YouTube, so you can make informed decisions about how you want YouTube to best fit into your life,” said Google in its blog post.
How it works
To see how much time you’ve spent on YouTube over the past week, sign in online, tap your Account, and click on “Time watched.” Once there, you’ll also see controls that let you turn off Autoplay — a key way to curb a binge before it begins, as well as an option to set a reminder to take a break after a certain amount of time. When your viewing time is up, that reminder will pop up onscreen and you can heed it or click “dismiss.”
To control your YouTube notifications, head to Settings, where you’ll see a way to condense all of the day’s notifications into one. You can also turn off all sounds and vibrations for notifications between 10pm and 8 a.m.
YouTube’s new digital wellbeing feature is rolling out today to most android device and should be widely available before the end of the week.