It's late at night, and there's nothing good on TV. We've all been there: we could just go to bed, but instead we head to YouTube and go down a rabbithole of videos. It might be FailArmy, it might be something about aliens, or if you're like me, you'll probably spend hours watching videos called something like "OMG ACTUAL GHOST CAUGHT ON CAMERA" in the hopes that one of them, just one, might not be a complete and obvious fake.
Today, YouTube's rolled out a new feature: buried in the settings, you can now see an overview of your viewing stats. It'll show you how long you've spent watching today, how long you spent watching yesterday, how long you spent watching during the past week, and a daily average. It's a shame there's not a 'lifetime' viewing stat – but then that would probably be just too depressing for us all to have to face.
On the Android YouTube app, you can see the stats by clicking on your account icon in the top-right hand corner, and then selecting "Time watched". Here's what it'll look like:
The new settings are part of a 'Digital Wellbeing' initiative from Google, who want to encourage us all to "better understand our tech usage, focus on what matters most and disconnect when needed". Basically, YouTube wants to help you realise that you watch too much YouTube. Or, more likely, it wants you to look at your stats then have a race with your mates to see who can rack up the highest number in a week.
Alongside the Time Watched stats, there's a new setting that will allow you to set a reminder to take a break after a set amount of time. You can customise this to whatever frequency works for you. Or just leave it turned off if you don't want your own phone to tell you what to do.
There are also some other settings in there too, like the ability to stop next videos autoplaying. You can also disable sounds and vibrations, and change notifications to be a daily digest rather than individual. (You can configure notifications further, though, in a separate area of the YouTube app settings).
The Time Watched stats don't seem to be accessible on desktop just yet, but if you have the app on mobile, go ahead and see how much of your life you waste each week watching pointless videos. [YouTube Blog]