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Google Rolls Out New ‘Digital Wellbeing’ Features to Keep Tabs On YouTube Usage

New digital wellbeing tools released by YouTube can track and limit usage and remind users to take breaks.New digital wellbeing tools released by YouTube can track and limit usage and remind users to take breaks.
New digital wellbeing tools released by YouTube can track and limit usage and remind users to take breaks.Courtesy of YouTube

Google is offering more “digital wellbeing” tools on YouTube for people to take control of their online habits, the company announced on Monday in a blog post.

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.

Google is following Apple and Facebook in addressing the wellbeing of their consumers, especially since social networking tools were created to exploit human vulnerabilities, as TechCrunch reported.

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.”