Non-essential businesses are closed and in-person gatherings are discouraged. It’s no wonder people are spending more time on social media than ever. But is it doing more harm than good?
Studies by the NIH have found a correlation between social media use and anxiety, which can pose even more of a problem as users spend more time on those platforms than ever before thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tap or click here to see how your social media posts can diagnose your mental state.
Now the question is, if being online negatively affects your mental health, should you be spending less time on social media? Well, Facebook surprisingly thinks so, and it’s rolling out a new feature that can help you curb how often you check in on the social network. Wait, what?
Hell freezes over: Facebook wants you to spend less time absorbing its ads
Facebook is taking the unprecedented step of recommending users take a break … from Facebook. The company is unveiling a new feature called “Quiet Mode” that lets users schedule times they want to be on the app while muting alerts and push notifications otherwise.
When Quiet Mode is active, any user that opens the app will get a message encouraging them to sign out and do something else until the timer expires. Any messages alerts or notifications are automatically silenced, which will prevent users from being tempted to open the app.
To activate Quite Mode, follow these steps:
- Open the Facebook app and click the three-line menu on the far-right of the bottom of the screen.
- Open the Settings & Privacy menu, and click Your Time on Facebook.
- Click See Tools under Manage Your Time, and you should find a switch to turn on Quiet Mode and set a timer.
Additionally, users will have the option to “ignore” Quiet Mode once it’s enabled, but this bypass only grants them 15 minutes of use before the Quiet Mode message blocks the screen again. To continue, you’ll have to tap “ignore” once more.
This is similar to an existing feature in iOS called Screen Time, which aims to limit overuse of iPhones in addition to adding parental controls. Tap or click here to find out how to set up parental controls on your iPhone.
Quiet Mode is beginning to roll out to users immediately, but not everyone will get access at once. Facebook believes that all iOS users will have access by May, and all Android users in the following month of June.
In a blog post discussing Quiet Mode and other pandemic-related measures, Facebook writes that “… setting boundaries for how you spend your time online can be helpful. Whether it’s to help you focus on your family and friends, sleep without distraction or manage how you spend your time at home, we have tools that can help you find the right balance for how you use Facebook. “
In other words, it seems that Facebook is trying to say they really want users to spend less time on their ads and data-grabbing platforms. That would be a rare instance of good advice from the social giant.
…Or do they?
Needless to say, Quiet Mode may not be the Facebook-limiter it’s cracked up to be. Not only is it easy to bypass Quiet Mode just by hitting the “ignore” button, the feature is completely voluntary — meaning the user themself is the one who enables it. And with Facebook being one of the main ways families are staying in touch during the pandemic, we don’t think the feature will be used all that much by ordinary people.
Not to mention, Facebook is a company like any other in that it depends on ad revenue to stay afloat. And with a pandemic-induced recession looking more likely each day, even Facebook is feeling the effects on its bottom line.
If you’ve been meaning to break up with Facebook for good but haven’t had the will to do it just yet, there’s never been a better time than now. Tap or click here to see why Kim thinks you should get off Facebook once and for all.