What is digital wellbeing and why is it relevant to you and your business?

The impact of technologies and digital services on people's mental, physical, and emotional health is known as digital wellbeing. One of the aspects in the digital capabilities framework is digital wellbeing.

It's a term that describes how technology and digital services affect people's mental, physical, social, and emotional well-being. It's a complicated idea that can be examined from several angles and in various contexts and situations.

Fom an individual perspective, it is about personal, learning, and work contexts: you should identify and comprehend both the positive and bad aspects of engaging in digital activities, as well as being aware of how to regulate and control these in order to increase wellbeing. 

On the other hand, we've got the societal or organizational standpoint - that is basically the obligation of providers of digital systems, services, and content to ensure that they are well-managed, maintained, accessible, and egalitarian. They must also empower and develop capability in users so that everyone who interacts with them can do so in a way that promotes and/or improves their well-being. 

Individuals should take charge of their digital well-being, but they may not always have the opportunity or ability to manage the influence of technologies or digital services on their lives. For example, in workplaces where employees may be unable to make changes, or in personal settings where individuals may be unable to access or participate in digital opportunities that could improve their lives. It's also worth remembering that certain people may lack the resources or capacity to mitigate the negative consequences of technology. 

Technologies and digital activities can have a positive or detrimental impact on physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. The extent to which things may affect an individual is determined by their unique context, circumstances, and aptitude to deal with – or benefit from – these effects. The four contexts in which digital wellbeing can be examined are social, personal, learning, and work. 

Individuals have responsibility for aspects within their control and should take appropriate steps to ensure they achieve and maintain a positive approach to digital wellbeing: 

Access and apply relevant training and assistance for digital systems and tools to your study and career. If there are any gaps in your organization's support, request training and assistance.  

Take the time to learn about and understand your own digital preferences and needs, including any permanent or temporary impairments, as well as any mental or physical health issues that may affect your ability to use technology. Use features like screen contrast, font size, color modifications, and assistive technology to your advantage. 

Think about how your digital actions affect your own and others' health. Take precautions to avoid unhealthy habits. Reduce harmful effects by, for example: 

  • Maintaining a healthy posture, taking regular screen breaks, lowering monitor brightness, getting enough sleep, and avoiding addictive behaviors. 
  • Challenge and avoid other people's unpleasant online behavior — know where to report it and how to do so (likely to be referenced in your IT and acceptable use policy) 
  • Report any environmental problems to appropriate channels (e.g., management, IT services, learning resource personnel, and student welfare services) 
  • Use security elements such as passwords and two-step authentication processes 

Manage your digital workload: this can be a major issue. While technology can help enhance productivity, it can also generate false expectations that support will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which can lead to stress.

Learn how to make better use of digital technologies and become familiar with tactics and approaches for managing emails and avoiding distractions. Individuals can try to regulate their digital workload, but it is not entirely in their hands. In staff reviews, performance management, and continuing professional development (CPD) initiatives, managers should evaluate the impact of digital workload. 

Make sure you're familiar with how to safely use digital equipment, tools, services, and information. This will aid in the maintenance of your physical and mental well-being. This may entail ensuring that your work and study environments are ergonomically constructed and meet health and safety regulations.

Making sure that digital interactions don't have a negative influence on mental health is also part of safe use. Students and employees should be informed of the organization's policies and procedures for safe use. 

Create and maintain a positive online presence (professional and personal). Individuals can choose how visible they want to be online and in digital networks, but all students and staff should be aware of their digital footprint and how their own and others' online behaviors affect it. Always strive to have a positive impact. Make sure that any services, material, or systems you offer or create are accessible and inclusive.

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