Procrastination and social networks, the perfect couple


More and more people have at least one social network . Young people in their university stage are the ones who spend the greatest number of hours viewing publications and sending messages from different applications using their smartphones.

College students are the most active group in the new internet age. In Mexico , young people between the ages of 18 and 24 have the highest average use of the Internet with 6.3 hours a day, well above the national average of 4.8 hours. This population group uses them mainly to see posts, short videos and funny content .

These are data that coincide with other countries, such as Spain .

Procrastination and social media

Using our smartphone allows us to fill gaps in time, it is an escape from our thoughts, and it makes it easier for us to interact with people or alternate realities. None of this should be negative, unless it leads us to procrastinate our personal or academic activities.

Academic procrastination is characterized by an unreasonable tendency to delay in starting or completing academic tasks that we know we must do, such as writing an essay, studying for an exam, doing a reading, etc.

Excessive use of mobile phones has been shown to be associated with increased academic procrastination . This leads to poor school performance and can lead to psychological disorders , such as self-blame and low self-esteem, as well as causing anxiety due to dependence on the mobile phone.

Part of the day to day

For digital natives, young people born after 1990, technology and the use of mobile phones is part of their day to day. Most of them use it to browse social networks, where the offer is unlimited, varied and deceptively attractive.

It is no coincidence that the content that social networks trap us with is so captivating, since they use scheduling algorithms based on our “likes” and interaction times to choose what to show us, how to present it and when to do it.

Our information processing has been transformed and we tend to change our focus quickly, becoming multitaskers. This affects our capacity for attention and concentration, raises our level of anxiety and impairs our productivity, whether at school or at work.

Useful tool and distraction item

For young students, the Internet and smartphones can mean a useful tool to carry out their academic activities, but also an element of distraction in class.

Its inappropriate and excessive use interferes with attention processes, reduces working memory and affects performance in cognitive tasks, thus increasing their tendency to procrastinate. This also has an impact on learning and productivity, and increases the risk of presenting problematic behaviors, related to loss of self-control, anxiety and depression.

Excessive use of the Internet and social networks can therefore negatively affect the mental health of young people, decrease their face-to-face social interactions, and be associated with poor sleep quality and poor time management.

Improve browsing habits

The capacity for self-control and time management allows for higher academic performance and a lower tendency to procrastinate.

To improve our tendency to excessive use of mobile phones and social networks we can:

  1. Identify how many hours we use the phone daily and in which applications we spend the most time.
  2. Set usage time limits and reflect on what things make us want to use it unnecessarily; for example, when we are bored, when we receive a notification or when we feel stressed.
  3. To avoid experiencing separation anxiety from your phone, it is very useful to turn off notifications and walk away from your phone whenever we are interacting with someone in person, for example, in meetings with friends and mainly during classes.

Alternatives for free time

Diversifying activities during free time can also be useful to reduce the periods we spend on social networks. For example: read a book, meditate, listen to music or go for a walk or play a sport.

It is important to bear in mind that spending more than five hours a day browsing the Internet can be a risk factor for behaviors related to problematic use, such as Internet addiction, poor academic performance, and a greater tendency to procrastination. .

But in this arduous task, young university students should not go it alone. Institutions must make the problem visible and help develop skills associated with time management, self-control, and healthy habits, to encourage the proper use of phones and regulate interaction on social networks.

Author Bio: Maria Fernanda Ortega Morfin is Professor of Psychology at the University of Guadalajara