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Ours and others’ digital wellbeing

For this article, Susan Halfpenny asks us to share our strategies for digital wellbeing.
A young knight facing a dragon
© CC0 - Warwick Goble

We have nearly reached the end of our learning journey together and it’s time to reflect on some of the questions, ideas and approaches that we’ve considered regarding online identity and digital wellbeing. What strategies do we think will improve the wellbeing of ourselves and others?

Throughout our learning we have considered both the positive and the negative impacts technologies have had on our lives and our broader society. We have looked at ways to avoid burnout and to manage negative attention. We’ve considered our own habits and reflected on how much time we were spending online. We have explored broader societal issues, such as the ‘measurement problem’, cultural changes and changes in the physical world. Finally, we have tried to widen engagement and improve accessibility to enable equitable access to online content and digital technologies, looking to some of the examples from academia where technologies are being use to improve people’s lives.

With all this considered, have your ideas of how digital technologies have had an impact on our culture, society and wellbeing changed since you started the course? Are there particular themes that resonate with your idea of digital wellbeing? Have you been able to develop some strategies that promote positive wellbeing?

When writing this course, we didn’t set out to prescribe a particular approach to dividing your time online and offline or engaging in online communities. The topic of wellbeing is too personal to have a one-size-fits-all approach: you need to consider what will work for you. We felt that it was important for us to look at changes in how we interact and behave as a society, and how those changes may be contributing factors to our sense of identity and wellbeing; to explore trends and popular culture; to consider some of the research in this area. In that way we might develop an understanding on the impact the digital world can have on our attitudes, emotions and personal lives. We somewhat anticipated, from our previous experiences of developing an online course on Becoming a digital citizen, that once you started to consider some of the complexities of digital identity, the internet, and technology, and think about the way these have influenced our behaviour, privacy, and relationships, it may raise more questions than any of us would ever be able to answer!

When updating the course content for this run we realised we were writing in “unprecedented times”: social distancing had resulted in further reliance on digital technologies for work, education and socialising. We recognised that isolation and change may have an adverse impact on wellbeing. And that our relationship with technology would have inevitably changed due to these “changing circumstances”. We hope you have found our reflections useful: that you have been able to consider your own practices and even identify some positives changes in this time of great uncertainty.

As we have explored through the content of this course, how our digital wellbeing is dependent upon a whole range of factors that go beyond the capabilities of digital literacy and of being able to manage our online interactions in a safe manner. Strategies to improve your digital wellbeing are dependent upon your own personal values, your beliefs, and your personal responses to various situations and interactions. However, by having an awareness of the various facets of wellbeing, and of how these intersect with technologies, you can hopefully start to make changes that will not only have a positive impact on you, but also on those around you.

Activity: Your strategies for improving the digital wellbeing of yourself and others

We would like to give you the opportunity to contribute to our course conclusion by sharing some of the actions, ideas, approaches and strategies that you have identified as having the potential to improve wellbeing: not just your own wellbeing but that of others too. In the comments section we invite you to share your reflections on the strategies you put into place following your reflection last week on how much time you spend online. You can provide a link to a particular pertinent article or post, recommend a particular app that you have found useful, or just note your own reflections on the impact digital technologies are having on our wellbeing.

We look forward to seeing your posts!

© University of York (author: Susan Halfpenny)
This article is from the free online

Digital Wellbeing

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