‘Take a Break’ Instagram Characteristic to Start Testing Quickly

Instagram says that its “Take a Break” feature, which would encourage teens to take a break from the app for the sake of their mental health, will begin testing soon.

Roughly 75 million of Instagram’s 1 billion users are between the ages of 13 and 17, and research indicates that the app can negatively affect teens’ mental health. The proposed “Take a Break” feature would give users the option to put their account on pause and think about how they’re spending their time. Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, told CNN’s State of the Union the goal is to prompt teenagers to, well, take a break from the app.

A recent blog post by Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the company is regularly looking for solutions when its research turns up problems. In particular, the issue of how the app can magnify feelings of a negative body image.

One proposed approach is to encourage users to change topics if they’re spending too much time looking at potentially negative content. The other is to suggest the user takes a breather from Instagram for a bit so as not to dwell on potentially harmful content.

According to The Verge, a Facebook representative couldn’t provide a clear timeline for rolling out the new feature, but said that testing should begin soon.

The scope and nature of the test also have not been detailed, but it likely will be similar to other feature tests. This means select users or possibly specific regions will suddenly find the option in their app, with no real explanation or fanfare.

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