YouTube addiction has become a very serious issue as more and more users struggle to control their viewing habits. If you, too, are finding it hard to put YouTube away and focus on something else even for a short while, find out how you can break the cycle of neverending video-watching and spend less time on YouTube.
What Is Digital Wellbeing and Why It’s Useful?
Google introduced the concept of Digital Wellbeing back at its Google I/O developer conference in 2018 in a bid to help users better balance their digital and real worlds. In recent years, numerous studies have shown a correlation between excessive smartphone use and mental health issues in teens, such as depression.
Through the initiative, Google acknowledged the perils of digital addiction and put forward a set of solutions designed to tackle mobile phone overuse. Now part of Android, these include options such as a Dashboard, that shows users an overview of their digital activity, a more evolved “Do Not Disturb” mode and a Focus mode.
YouTube’s “Take A Break” feature is also part of this program and is available in the newer version of the app. You’ll need version 13.18.xx or higher in order to take advantage of it.
How to Turn on “Take a Break” on Android
With its recommended videos and autoplay feature on by default, YouTube is actually designed to foster addiction. The “Take a Break” feature attempts to break this constant stream of videos by bringing up gentle reminders at specified time intervals. The following steps will allow you to turn on the feature on your Android device.
1. Open the YouTube app on your phone.
2. Tap on the account icon on the upper-right corner.
3. Find the Settings option and tap on it.
4. Tap on General.
5. Turn on the “Remind me to take a break” toggle.
6. Set the reminder frequency for the amount of time you desire.
7. Tap OK and you’ll be all set.
Now you can go back to watching your videos. Once the specified time has elapsed, a friendly monkey will pop up on screen reminding you to take a break.
You can either simply “Dismiss” the reminder or go back to Settings and give yourself more time to watch videos.
How to Turn on “Take a Break” on iOS
1. Open the YouTube app on your iOS device.
2. Tap on your account icon located in the upper-right corner of the app.
3. Tap on Settings.
4. Find the “Remind me to take a break” option and toggle it on.
5. Set the desired time for the break alert.
6. Press OK.
How to Turn on “Remind Me When It’s Bedtime” on Your Phone
If you’re worried your constant YouTube watching will get in the way of you getting a good night sleep, then perhaps you should also activate the “Remind me when it’s bedtime” feature. Google started rolling out this option mid-2020.
To do so, follow the same instructions we’ve detailed above for both Android and iOS. Under General, you should find the “Remind me when its bedtime” option right below “Remind me to take a break.” Toggle it on and set your desired sleep interval.
There’s also the option to untick the “Wait until I finish video to show reminder,” but we recommend against it. In our experience, we couldn’t get the bedtime reminder to work while this particular option was off.
When your bedtime reminder eventually shows up on screen, users will be able to opt to either Snooze (for 10 minutes) or dismiss it if they don’t feel ready to go to bed yet.
Note: an alternative method for accessing both features is to go to “Settings -> Time watched.” Scroll down to view them.
If you feel like you need even more coercing to go to sleep, you can go ahead and turn on Bedtime mode from your Digital Wellbeing settings on your device. You can learn how to do it by reading our dedicated article on the matter.