Manual Strategic Uses of Social Technology: An Interactive Perspective of Social Psychology

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What other meaningful things they could do with that time? What were the benefits of not using social media? Why did they use social media and were there alternative way to achieve the purposes? What were the adverse effects of social media use? Participants wrote down their responses. After the reflection, participants were asked to each list on a card five advantages of reducing the use of social media and five disadvantages of excessive use of social media.

They were then asked to take a photo of the card and use it as a lock screen of their phones that would serve as a reminder for themselves. They were also instructed to post the card on their desks during the following week. The second stage of the intervention took place in the following week, during which participants in the experimental group were asked to keep a daily to record their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to social media use, as part of the cognitive-behavioral techniques Young, Participants reflected on their daily use of social media every night before going to bed, including what social media they used, how long and how they used the social media, their thoughts and emotions related to their social media use, and the strategies they would like to use to reduce social media use.

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They were also asked to indicate their emotional state and learning engagement, as well as their expected social media use the next day. To ensure that the participants followed the instruction, daily reminders were sent to them to complete the recording. Participants were further instructed to take a photo of their completed recording and send it to a contact researcher of the lab to confirm its completion.

After the intervention, at Time 2 , all participants completed another survey. The measures included social media addiction , daily social media use time, self-esteem, sleep quality, and mental health, same as those at Time 1. Participants answered the questions e. A total score was summed, with higher scores indicating higher levels of learning engagement. Participants also reported their daily learning time outside the class in the past week and rated on their emotional state in the past week on a scale ranging from 1 very bad to very good.

Strategic Uses of Social Technology: An Interactive Perspective of Social Psychology

Finally, participants in the experimental group provided feedback on the effectiveness of the intervention. They answered 7 questions concerning the various aspects of the intervention e. At last, participants were fully debriefed and thanked. Across all dependent variables, 2 Group: Experimental vs. Control x 2 Test time: Time 1 vs.

Time 2 mixed-model analyses were conducted to examine the effect of intervention. For participants in the experimental group, there was a significant decrease in social media addiction from Time 1 to Time 2 , changing from Figure 2 illustrates the interaction effect. Figure 2. Social media addiction as a function of test time and group Study 2. The same analysis was conducted to examine the effect of intervention on daily social media use time, self-esteem, sleep quality, and mental health, respectively. Table 2 presents means and standard deviations for all variables and t-tests within each group. Further t-tests within each group showed that whereas t he average daily time participants spent on social media was reduced significantly from Time 1 to Time 2 for both groups, the reduction was larger for the experimental group. However, further t-tests within each group showed that the improvements were only significant for the experimental group, but not the control group.

Taken together, these results suggest that our intervention effectively reduced social media addiction and improved mental health and other outcomes. Table 2. Mean and standard deviation of Time 1andTime2's test scores of key variables. Outcome variables.

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Group n. Time 1. Time 2. Social media addiction. Experimental Control Daily social media use time. Sleep quality. In sum, participants in the experimental group exhibited reduced social media addiction and improved mental health as well as self-esteem and sleep quality after a two-stage intervention, whereas there was no significant change in the control group.

The experimental group participants evaluated the intervention to be effective, in line with prior research showing that cognitive reconstruction, the reminder card technique, and daily reflections are effective methods in reducing Internet addiction Young, Furthermore, compared with those in the control group, participants who received the intervention spent more time on learning and experienced a higher level of learning engagement and better emotional state.

It is noteworthy that although control group participants reported reduced social media use time at Time 2, they did not exhibit reduced social media addiction or significant improvement in any outcome measures. This is consistent with the theoretical notion that the mere social media use time is not equivalent with or sufficient to index social media addiction Griffiths, ; Andreassen, General Discussion. Furthermore, in line with previous findings that social media addiction negatively affects self-esteem Andreassen et al. Furthermore, the implementation of an intervention based on the cognitive-behavioral approach Young, , ; Gupta et al.

Nevertheless, i t does not rule out the possibility that poor mental health can further contribute to social media addiction. A lso, individuals in poor mental health often try to use social media to improve their mood and, when this need is not met, their mental condition tends to become worse Caplan , Thus, the relation between poor mental health and social media addiction is likely to be bidirectional. The present studies provided strong support for the relation of social media addiction to academic outcomes by using a variety of measures. Study 1 showed that a self-rank measure of academic performance was negatively associated with social media addiction.

This relation was not mediated by self-esteem. Study 2 further showed that an intervention to reduce social media addiction improved learning engagement and in creased the time spent on learning outside the class. We speculate that there may be three explanations for the negative relation of social media addiction to academic performance.

First, social media addiction may mean more time spent online and less time spent on study. This has important practical implications by showing that social media addiction can be mitigated through cognitive reconstruction and the supporting techniques. The stage of cognitive reconstruction helped students realize the negative consequences of their addiction to social media as well as the potential benefits of reducing social media usage. The subsequent application of the reminder card as a lock screen of their phones as well as the daily reflections further reinforced this awareness.

These findings suggest that helping college students to gain a better understanding of the adverse effects of social media addiction through cost-efficient self-help interventions can reduce social media addiction and have the potential to improve mental health and academic performance. The current studies have some limitations. First, participants were recruited through psychology courses at Peking University and the sample sizes were relatively small especially in Study 2, which may limit the generalizability of the findings. Future studies should include more diverse and larger samples to increase external validity.

Second, participants in the control group of Study 2 did not receive any instruction during the one-week interval and they could be distracted by things unrelated to the study. Future research should establish more strict control conditions to eliminate any confounding variables. Third, the intervention in Study 2 was limited in length and the post-treatment data were collected only once, right after the intervention ended.

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It is therefore unclear whether the intervention effects on social media addiction and other outcomes would persist over time. Given that the current intervention program for reducing social media addiction was newly developed, it requires further refinement to improve its effectiveness. In addition, future studies should investigate the bidirectional relation between social media addiction and mental health, using longitudinal approaches to further validate the mediating role of self-esteem and examine other potential mediators such as cognitive distortions for the relations of social media addiction to mental health and other outcomes.

In conclusion, the current research revealed negative associations between social media addiction and college students' mental health and academic performance, and the role of self-esteem as an underlying mechanism for the relation between social media addiction and mental health.

A cost-efficient intervention that included cognitive reconstruction, reminder cards, and a week-long diary keeping effectively reduced the addiction to social media and further improved mental health and academic efficiency. Al-Menayes, J. The relationship between mobile social media use and academic performance in university students. Social media use, engagement and addiction as predictors of academic performance. Alabi, O.

A survey of Facebook addiction level among selected Nigerian University undergraduates. New Media and Mass Communication, 10 , 70— Andreassen, C. Online social network site addiction: A comprehensive review.

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Psychological Reports, , — Balakrishnan, V. Malaysian Facebookers: Motives and addictive behaviours unraveled. Computers in Human Behavior, 29 , — Demetrovics, Z. Problematic social media use: Results from a large-scale nationally representative adolescent sample. Baumeister, R. The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachment as a human motivation.

Psychological Bulletin, , — Association between Facebook addiction, self-esteem and life satisfaction: A cross-sectional study. Computers in Human Behavior, 55 , — The role of personality traits in Facebook and Internet addictions: A study on Polish, Turkish, and Ukrainian samples. Computers in Human Behavior, 68 , — Caplan, S.

Theory and measurement of generalized problematic Internet use: A two-step approach. Computers in Human Behavior, 26 , — Casale, S. Exploring the role of positive metacognitions in explaining the association between the fear of missing out and social media addiction. Addictive Behaviors, 85 , 83— Caselli, G.

The metacognitions about gambling questionnaire: Development and psychometric properties. Psychiatry Research, , — Chou, H. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15 , — Davis, R. A cognitive-behavioral model of pathological Internet use. Computers in Human Behavior, 17 , — Echeburua, E.

Addiction to new technologies and to online social networking in young people: A new challenge.