Digital self-control interventions for distracting media multitasking - a systematic review

  • Digital distractions can interfere with goal attainment and lead to undesirable habits that are hard to get red rid of. Various digital self-control interventions promise support to alleviate the negative impact of digital distractions. These interventions use different approaches, such as the blocking of apps and websites, goal setting, or visualizations of device usage statistics. While many apps and browser extensions make use of these features, little is known about their effectiveness. This systematic review synthesizes the current research to provide insights into the effectiveness of the different kinds of interventions. From a search of the ‘ACM’, ‘Springer Link’, ‘Web of Science’, ’IEEE Xplore’ and ‘Pubmed’ databases, we identified 28 digital self-control interventions. We categorized these interventions according to their features and their outcomes. The interventions showed varying degrees of effectiveness, and especially interventions that relied purely on increasing the participants' awareness were barely effective. For those interventions that sanctioned the use of distractions, the current literature indicates that the sanctions have to be sufficiently difficult to overcome, as they will otherwise be quickly dismissed. The overall confidence in the results is low, with small sample sizes, short study duration, and unclear study contexts. From these insights, we highlight research gaps and close with suggestions for future research.
Author:Daniel Biedermann, Jan Schneider, Hendrik Drachsler
Parent Title (English):Journal of computer assisted learning
Place of publication:Oxford [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/08/13
Date of first Publication:2021/08/13
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/04/19
Tag:digital distractions; media multitasking; self-control; self-regulation
Page Number:15
First Page:1217
Last Page:1231
The main author of this review is funded by the Leibniz-Kooperative Exzellenz. Open access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
Institutes:Informatik und Mathematik
Dewey Decimal Classification:0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 004 Datenverarbeitung; Informatik
1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0