The idea behind the new initiative is that people will be able to keep tabs on how much time they are spending on YouTube watching videos. Some features will also provide reminders to users to take breaks.
Former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris has criticized the tech industry for its exploitative nature. In an interview with the Guardian, Harris said: “All of us are jacked into this system. All of our minds can be hijacked. Our choices are not as free as we think they are.”
Google intends to give people more control of their usage with its new tools.
The new features include options to keep tabs on how much time users spend watching videos, via a personal profile available in the user’s account menu. This feature tracks how long a user has watched YouTube content over the course of seven days.
Users can also limit the number of notifications they receive in a day and can also disable sounds for notifications.
To offset the amount of time spent on the app, another feature in the digital wellbeing toolkit allows people to set reminders to take a break. As Google wrote in its statement: “It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun.”