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Instagram launches tool urging teens to 'take a break' after long periods

Instagram launches tool urging teens to 'take a break' after long periods
The rollout of the tool comes at a time when many social platforms are under close scrutiny over content and behaviors and their effect on younger users. File Photo by LoboStudioHamburg/Pixabay

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Instagram rolled out a new tool in the United States and several other countries on Tuesday that encourages younger users to take a break from the social media app if they have been using it for a prolonged period.

The platform, owned by Meta, said the "Take a Break" tool offers a reminder for teenagers who spend a lot of time on Instagram and an extra layer of protection from potentially harmful content. It allows users to track how much time they spend on the app, limits interactions with adult users and sensitive content and gives parents control of their children's accounts.

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Meta, the parent company formerly known as Facebook, said the new tool is now available in the United States, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It added that the feature will be available in other countries next year.

"We'll continue doing research, consulting with experts, and testing new concepts to better serve teens," Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in a statement.

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"We're launching Take A Break to empower people to make informed decisions about how they're spending their time."

The rollout of the tool comes at a time when many social platforms are under close scrutiny over content and behaviors and their effect on younger users.

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Mosseri is scheduled to testify in the Senate on Wednesday and answer questions about Instagram's impact on teenagers. The hearing comes after whistleblower Frances Haugen said Meta has known about its platforms' effect on teens' mental health.

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The state of Ohio sued Meta last month for purportedly misleading the public about the negative impact on children.

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