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The viral elephant in the room

The course educators discuss their approach and how this course has developed over the last few years.
Illustration of an elephant and a lion
© CC0 - Arthur Rackham

The likelihood is that you’ve received an email – from your workplace, from a company, from a utility provider, maybe even from your government – talking about “unprecedented times”. We didn’t want to open with that, but we can’t really go any further in talking about digital wellbeing without acknowledging that right now, things are pretty weird and frankly, frightening. Unprecedented times. Exceptional circumstances. Uncharted territory.

We’ve run online courses on digital wellbeing a few times now, updating each course to reflect ongoing trends and changes in the subject area. This is the first one we have run since the outbreak of coronavirus, the pandemic of COVID-19 that has put so many at risk and so many more in lockdown. Many of the issues discussed in this course have taken on greater significance, as more than ever people are relying on digital technology for news, to stay in contact with friends and family, to shop, to get advice, and to work. As before, we hope this course can help you better understand your relationship with digital technology and the impact it can have on your (and others’) wellbeing, but we’ve also added in content responding specifically to some of the changes brought about by COVID-19. We want to address working and studying remotely, as so many more of us find ourselves working from home full time, or for the first time. We also want to start discussion as to how you can manage your use of digital technologies to support your wellbeing through this crisis. It is an undeniably strange situation and we don’t have a template for how things should work in a situation like this, but hopefully this course will help you better understand how you can use digital technology, even in these difficult – dare we say it, unprecedented – times.

© University of York (authors: Alice Bennett, Siobhan Dunlop, Stephanie Jesper & Susan Halfpenny)
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