Instagram are introducing a Take a Break feature to improve mental health

Social media can be one of the best and also one of the worst tools. Since being introduced it has done arguably a lot of damage, but also a lot of good has come from it. The majority of creatives use it as a platform to promote themselves. Instagram will now introduce a new feature which might give us all the push we need to take some time away from the screen.

Take a break option Instagram

A generation hooked to our smartphones?

Everyone can agree, these days your phone can do everything, so putting it down and taking a step back seems almost impossible for most people. It’s been said countless times that generations are becoming glued to their smartphones. With everything just a tap away, there’s no drive for a life outside of technology. For many people their mobile phone is their only connection with other people. In some ways this is a blessing that phones are now able to reach out to loved ones within minutes. It breaks down barriers stopping people from having someone to talk to. So, in a lot of ways our mobiles are brilliant and for some, quite literally lifesavers.

However, it’s no secret that a lot of us have become reliant on this tech. No longer will some people pop down the road to check in on a friend. Instead, they’ll drop them a text. Sure, lives may have got busier and this might be the easier option, but it loses the face to face connection. Are we really turning into a society that reaches out to our friends by liking their latest post, rather than hanging out in person?

Fact or fiction?

There has been endless complaints that social media is damaging to our mental health. It’s clear to see why. With people joining social media from much younger ages these days, it’s easy to get wrapped up into it. For a lot of people, it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction. They see someone with the latest designer gear, so they presume that’s their life. However, many people on social media may be presenting a front we know nothing about. Perhaps they feel the need to present themselves in a certain way, when their reality is very different.

It becomes harmful when people believe everything is real. Social media can act as a fantasy. People tend to only show the good parts about their lives. Remember the saying you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. Just because it’s featured on a social platform, doesn’t mean it’s 100% true. Despite this, people will always believe what they see. It’s human nature and unfortunately can’t be stopped. That’s why taking a step away from this potentially toxic mindset can be nothing but a good thing.

Many people have taken to Instagram to post the real vs fake versions of an image. The Insta vs reality trend has become really popular with many users on the app. It’s a great way for people with a following to show not everything you see on social media is real. A lot of editing goes into images to make them look perfect and while this doesn’t necessarily have to be stopped, it is important to point out. Especially to younger generations who might not be aware that everything they see isn’t real.

Take a Break

Instagram have clearly listened to everything that’s been said about social media being linked to the mental health crisis. More and more people are struggling. In fact, it’s suggested 1 in 4 adults suffer with mental health problems. That’s a large amount of people and seeing make believe stories across your newsfeed when you’re feeling low cannot help. This is why Instagram have announced a new feature making it’s way to us in December.

The Take a Break feature will be an opt-in service. You can decide how long you want to be on the app before being reminded to take some time away from your screen. The decision is yours and Instagram will do the reminding. If you opt into this, you’ll be prompted after your allotted amount of time on the platform. A message will pop up advising you to take some time to yourself. It will also suggest a few different things you could do during this time, such as, listening to your favourite song or taking some deep breaths.

Positive impact

Of course, this won’t solve things overnight, but it is a great start. How many of you have found yourself aimlessly scrolling down Instagram with no real purpose? You’re not even taking in the content any more, you’re just scrolling out of habit. This feature will hopefully break these cycles we’ve all found ourselves stuck in. Even if you only take a 10 or 20 minute pause from your devices, it will do you a lot more good than it will harm. Let’s face it, you’re not going to miss anything major during that time now, are you?

So, we’ll be waiting for this feature, and we’re interested to see the reviews of it once it’s up and running. Hopefully it will be a really positive change. Although Instagram has introduced this feature, they cannot force people to use it. That comes down to the individual themselves. However, it’s great that it’s going to be an option, and hopefully we’ll see a lot of individuals using it as a positive way to relax and disconnect from the social world.

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