YouTube now lets you track your time spent watching videos

YouTube has introduced new tools to help users manage their digital wellbeing. These tools let users track how much time they spend on the service while watching videos, and lets them configure notifications and break reminders to control their usage. Google just introduced digital wellbeing tools in Android P, which also let users track and control their usage. Expanding similar tools to Youtube only makes logical sense.

YouTube users watch more than 1 billion  hours of video per day. When you think about it, this is an astonishingly high number. YouTube is not only the alternative to TV, it has also become idiot box of the current era. While there are upcoming tools for both Android P and iOS 12, to manage digital wellbeing and Screen Time, respectively, those tools only work on these platforms. YouTube goes beyond just iOS and Android and is available on gaming consoles, TVs and even smart displays.

To track usage, the newest YouTube app update contains a new ‘Time watched’ section. This section can be accessed by logging into the app, tapping on the profile picture on the top right, and tapping on ‘Time Watched’ in the menu.

YouTube Time watched

The new section shows video viewing statistics, and lists some tools which should help manage usage time. Under stats, you can see a breakdown of hours/minutes as following:

  • Today
  • Yesterday
  • Past week
  • Daily average

These stats are tracked from your video history in YouTube, over the last 7 days. Any videos deleted from watched history, or watched in incognito mode, will not be tracked. If watch history is paused, time watched will not be tracked anymore.

YouTube Time watched stats

To manage time on YouTube, specifically the app, there are a few options available:

  • Remind me to take a break: YouTube will show a you a reminder after your scheduled time, that you should take a break. The app allows you to set the reminder to any amount of time that you want. A reminder frequency of 2 hours and above should be alarming.
  • Autoplay:¬†this can be enabled/disabled from every video, but is also available on this screen as an option.
  • Scheduled digest: this lets you combine all notifications into one, and receive it at a time of your choice. A better option is to simply disable notifications for the app, if you receive so many of them.
  • Disable sounds & notifications: this lets you notification sounds and vibrations, during the hours that you specify. This option can be set to keep notification disabled all the time.

YouTube Time watched settings

How users take advantage of these tools is up to them. It takes more willpower than just tracking tools to control device/services usage and stop it from becoming an addiction. But any steps from big companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are more than welcome.