Web

YouTube will now tell you to ‘take a break’ from endless viewing

You now how it is. You go to YouTube to watch footage of amazing airplane landings and 31 videos later you’re still on the site, tapping on “just one more” of its recommendations, which leads to “just one more,” which leads to …

Another 14 videos later, half the evening has gone and you realize the house chores you’ve been putting off will not miraculously happen without your personal input.

If only YouTube would add some kind of feature that prompted you to take a break. Oh, hang on a moment. It has.

Google-owned YouTube has apparently recognized that while technology has generally been a force for good, certain elements of it have a tendency to occasionally often take over and stop us getting more important things done. For sure, dancing-parrot videos are all well and good, but perhaps it’s time you actually got on with discovering the source of that clanking noise on your car so that one of the wheels doesn’t end up overtaking you on your next outing.

So, the feature. It’s called, would you believe, “take a break,” and can be set up in a few taps.

First, make sure you have the latest version of YouTube on your Android or iOS device. Next, tap on your profile button in the top right of the display. Tap on Settings and at the top of the display you’ll see, “Remind me to take a break.”

Next to it you’ll see “never,” which means you’re going to have to opt in. You didn’t think YouTube was going to make it that easy for you to avoid becoming immersed in its content, did you?

Tap on “never” and you’ll be presented with a choice of time frames (15, 30, 60 minutes, and so on) indicating how often you’ll be reminded — via an alert — to go away and do something more productive or at least move your limbs a bit to prevent them from locking into an awkward position. Though you probably won’t. You’ll probably just clear the message and carry on from where you left off before you were rudely interrupted.

Of course, YouTube doesn’t want you to take too much of a break. It certainly doesn’t want you to go off and discover a new hobby during your downtime, like soap carving or extreme ironing or flying-car building. Though if you do, you’ll more than likely hit YouTube to learn more about the subject, and before you know it you’ll once again be lost in its endless offerings.

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