Instagram’s latest feature encourages teens to close app at night

In this photo illustration, a teenager uses her phone to access social media on January 31, 2024 in New York City. (Photo illustration by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Instagram is rolling out a new feature to help teens take a break from using the app at nighttime.

The"nighttime nudges" tool is designed to help young users utilize downtime away from their phones. 

The prompt is triggered after detecting use of interactive tools like direct messages and Reels for longer than 10 minutes late at night.

In the Jan. 18 blog post, Meta posted a screenshot of what the alert notifying teens to turn off the app will look like.  "Time for a break? It’s getting late.  Consider closing Instagram for the night," the post reads. 

RELATED: Meta adds new parental supervision tools for Instagram, but is it enough?

"Sleep is important, particularly for young people, so we’re launching new nighttime nudges that will show up when teens have spent more than 10 minutes on Instagram in places like Reels or Direct Messages late at night. They’ll remind teens that it’s late, and encourage them to close the app," Meta wrote in the post. 

This latest tool builds on Meta’s efforts to enhance its parental control features introduced in 2023. The tech giant launched Quiet mode on Instagram, and urges teen users to set time limits on Facebook while giving parents more ways to supervise their kids on Instagram. 

What other tools has Meta released to protect young users?

Instagram launched parental supervision tools in 2022 to help families navigate the platform and find resources and guidance. 

Meta is also adding parental supervision tools already available on Instagram and on virtual reality products to Messenger. The opt-in feature lets parents see how much time their child spends on the messaging service and information such as their contact lists and privacy settings — but not who they are chatting with, for instance.

The social media company has dealt with criticism through the years regarding oversight and better protection for young users on its platforms.

RELATED: States file lawsuits against Meta over kids' mental health

On. Jan. 31, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced scathing questions from lawmakers during a hearing with other social media executives. Zuckerberg was grilled by a Senate committee about child safety measures on his social media platform while parents of children exploited, bullied or driven to self harm via social media held up pictures of their loved ones as Zuckerberg turned to address them.

Separately, the social media company was hit with a lawsuit by 33 states in Oct. 2023, claiming its platform was harming young people’s mental health and contributing to the youth mental health crisis by creating features on Instagram and Facebook that addict children to its platforms.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.