Instagram, the world’s largest photo-sharing network, is urging users to take a break amid declining average time spent on the app each day — a decline mirrored in other social media platforms.
The feature, dubbed “Restart,” prompts users to go back into the app and take a break, with varying prompts for users from 10 to 20 seconds. That’s based on research conducted by Facebook and Instagram into how much time users spend on their apps.
An Instagram spokesman confirmed the launch and said the feature is similar to one that already exists on Facebook and Messenger. The aim is to guide users to take more breaks from time to time and help them re-engage with the app, especially as more teens turn to platforms like YouTube, which don’t connect them with brands.
“Instagram is about helping people express themselves and connect with the people they care about,” the spokesman said. “Keeping it as easy as possible for people to break away and have some time to themselves helps them reconnect to the app and catch up on those important moments.”
Instagram, which had more than 1 billion users in September, has long been considered a safer social network than competitors like Facebook, where users are exposed to more profanity and body-shaming messages. But it faces even bigger challenges — namely, declining teen usage in the U.S. The rate of decline is quickly outpacing gains made by Instagram’s main Facebook counterpart, Mark Zuckerberg’s largest and most lucrative business.
For the final quarter of 2018, Facebook reported that usage among teenagers fell for the first time in years.