It Seems to Have a Hold on Us: Social Media Self-regulation of Students

  • Lushan Chokalingam
  • Machdel MattheeEmail author
  • Marié J. Hattingh
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 963)


Social media play a positive role in the lives of students by providing social networking, communication and information functionalities. However, social media also act as a distraction, resulting in multi-tasking between social media and studying which leaves fragmented time intervals for focused concentration. Self-regulation is emphasized as an essential skill necessary to manage the use of social media when planning or performing learning activities. In this paper we determine whether students are aware of the need for social media self-regulation behavior during their studies and, if so, which measures they take. Some of these include the physical removal of the phone, using technological functions to limit access (e.g. removing the battery, uninstalling apps), or sheer will-power. Nevertheless there remains a strong ‘pulling’ power of social media which makes the implementation of those plans difficult. Reasons for this phenomenon include fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) and the habit-forming nature of social media and mobile devices. Another factor is the two ‘worlds’ of social media as perceived by students: they can be used both academically and socially. How to ignore the one and focus on the other? We emphasise the importance of awareness amongst students and lecturers regarding the need for self-regulation of social media use as well as strategies to manage them.


Social media self-regulation Zimmerman Cyclical self-regulation Social media habits Distraction Learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lushan Chokalingam
    • 1
  • Machdel Matthee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marié J. Hattingh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of InformaticsUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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