For some an oxymoron, a new concept has emerged in our vocabulary recently: that of “digital wellbeing”. Perhaps it is not surprising that academics have been researching the impact of new digital technologies on people’s wellbeing for quite some time already, but the fact that tech-giants like Google are now paying attention to the topic is a sign of its relevance for our modern societies.
As Google acknowledges, technology is transforming the way we spend time, and this is why it’s more important than ever to ensure the tools we use are helpful, and not a distraction. Let’s consider for a brief moment how digital tools have changed the work of changemakers and social innovators. Many of them use digital tools at the core of their ventures, e.g. think about tech-preneurs teaching digital skills to children to equip them with the skills of the 21st century. Others rely on technology to scale their impact, e.g. think about social entrepreneurs who can reach (back-then-unimaginable) large audiences through online platforms and apps.
It is clear that digital tools have opened up new horizons for changemakers (and for all of us), but as we learn to navigate in these waters full of fascinating possibilities, we must also make a well-rounded assessment on the impact of digital technologies on our work and life. In fact, many are pointing to the negative impact of digital technologies on our wellbeing, which contributes to behaviours such as addiction, distraction, anxiety… Whether we want it or not, digital tools will possibly become more and more present in our lives, so we might as well learn to recalibrate our digital diet so that it is diverse, balanced, and nutritious.
To help people – professionals, changemakers, youth, educators – consume healthy digital diets that feed their minds, bodies, hearts, and souls with the nutrients they need to thrive, is what motivated Recipes for Wellbeing to contribute to Google’s new course on digital wellbeing. This course shares a new series of digital wellbeing online learning videos, available here. As Google explains, “each video encourages you to think about how you use technology and suggests ways to find the right balance for you.” Have a look at the videos and let us know what changes you are making to maintain a more balanced digital diet.