Instagram announced a new feature called “Quiet Mode” on Thursday, designed to help users focus and set boundaries with friends and followers.
If the option is enabled, all notifications will be paused and the profile’s activity status will change to “In silent mode”. If someone sends a Direct Message during this time, Instagram will automatically send an auto-reply informing the sender that “Silent Mode” is turned on.
While the feature applies to all users, Instagram appears to be focusing on teenagers. Instagram makes it available as a tool to help with study and to urge teens to turn on the feature “if they spend a certain amount of time on Instagram late at night.”
The tool is made available to users in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and plans to add it to more countries in the future.
The tool is the latest example of Instagram giving users more ways to manage their usage, after years of studying how much time people — and teenagers in particular — spend on various social media apps and the damage it does to their mental health can represent.
“These updates are part of our ongoing work to ensure people have experiences that work for them and that they have more control over the time they spend online and the types of content they watch,” he said the company in a blog post.
As part of this effort, the platform is also rolling out features that give users more control over what appears in their Explore feed. For example, it’s now possible to mark content with a “Not Interested” label to prevent similar content from being shown in the future. Instagram is also introducing an option to prevent recommending words or lists of words, emojis, or hashtags such as #fitness or #recipes in the Explore feed.
Instagram is also updating its parental supervision tools. When a teen updates a setting, parents can get a notification so they can talk to their teen about the change. Parents will be able to too View accounts your teen has blocked.
In a series of congressional hearings in 2021, executives from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat faced tough questions from lawmakers about how their platforms direct younger users to harmful content that can harm mental health and body image (particularly in teenage girls). and There was a lack of adequate parental control and safeguards to protect teenagers.
The social media companies have promised to make changes, and Instagram in particular has made many. It has since launched an education center for parents with resources, tips, and articles from experts on user safety, and introduced a tool for guardians to see how much time their kids spend on Instagram and set time limits.
Another Instagram feature encouraged users to take a break from the app, for example by suggesting they take a deep breath after a set amount of time, write something down, review a to-do list, or listen to a song. The company has also said that it takes a “stricter approach” to the content it recommends to teenagers, and it actively pushes other topics like architecture and travel destinations when they’ve dwelled on any type of content for too long.