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Social Media Breaks: An Opportunity for Recovery and Procrastination

Hossain, E., Wadley, G., Berthouze, N., & Cox, A. L. (2024). Social Media Breaks: An Opportunity for Recovery and Procrastination. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction.

This paper explores the dual nature of social media multitasking (SMM) among students and its effects on their academic performance and wellbeing. It specifically examines how SMM can act both as a beneficial recovery behavior and a detrimental procrastination habit.

Key points from the paper include:

  1. Emotion Regulation Perspective: In this paper we use an emotion regulation lens to analyze SMM, noting that students often use social media to manage their emotions. This can involve strategies like distraction or seeking social support, which can either alleviate stress or exacerbate procrastination.
  2. Dichotomy of SMM: The research outlines that SMM can either serve as a recovery behavior, helping students rejuvenate and mentally detach from academic stress, or as procrastination, negatively impacting their performance and increasing stress.
  3. Influencing Factors: The effects of SMM are influenced by environmental, motivational, and capability factors. These factors determine whether SMM will be a recovery or a procrastination behavior. Scheduled and controlled use of SMM tends to be more beneficial, while unscheduled and impulsive use tends to lead to procrastination.
  4. Design Recommendations: The study offers design recommendations for technology creators to help foster more beneficial forms of SMM. These include tools to increase user autonomy, manage notifications, and encourage more intentional, scheduled social media use to enhance recovery rather than procrastination.