In response to increasing concerns about digital distraction, we bridged people's cognitive attention to digital distraction within the personal learning environment (PLE). Gender differences were investigated in college students’ media-related perceived attention problems (PAP) and their attention self-regulatory strategies (SRS). Also examined were the gender moderating effects on the correlations of attention problems and regulatory strategies with six dimensions of social media usage and four cognitive- and adjustment-related criteria: online search strategies, media-multitasking self-efficacy (MMSE), positive/negative self-esteems, and academic achievement. Participants were 771 undergraduate and graduate students from 10 universities in Taiwan. Gender measurement invariance was established in the research instrument. Males exhibited higher PAP than females. Females demonstrated more versatile strategy use to regulate their attention with increased social media use, while males applied more behavioral strategies over social media use as disorientation increased during online searches. Higher MMSE was associated with higher executive and orienting problems for females, and higher alerting problems for males. Higher orienting problems was associated with more negative self-esteem for males. Females with higher PAP reported poorer academic achievement. Implications for practical intervention of PAPs are discussed for each gender group to promote college students’ psychological well-being with regard to social media use and learning performance.
- Digital distraction
- Gender studies
- Media multitasking self-efficacy
- Social Media