Digital Well being
Digital Wellbeing is a holistic and balanced approach to our interactions in the digital world as citizens, communities, and an overall digital nation.
This balanced state of life entails finding a healthy balance and blend between our online and offline activities, and ensuring that technology is enhancing our lives rather than disturbing and distracting us from what is most important to our overall wellbeing.
Many factors affect our digital wellbeing, mainly driven by the choices we choose to make online. And the more time we spend online and on digital devices, the more likely we are to be affected by its dangers, such as exposure to inappropriate content or cyberbullying. Therefore, it is essential to be careful and conscious when choosing what to do online. Who we interact with, what content we expose ourselves too, and the time we spend online are all examples of decisions that affect our digital wellbeing.
Nonetheless, digital wellbeing is our collective responsibility as a community. All government entities, the private sector, parents, carers, educators, and the community must come together to enhance our digital wellbeing, address challenges brought upon by digital innovations, and minimize potential digital risks.
As our lives become increasingly digital, with digital technologies surrounding us everywhere, it has become increasingly important to ask the questions:
- How is our digital life influencing our real life and overall wellbeing?
- Are we mindful and aware of our relationship with technology? Is it a healthy relationship?
- Are we mindful and aware of how digital technologies are impacting our mental and emotional wellbeing, relationships, society, and, even our physical wellbeing, safety, and overall wellbeing? (Or what has recently become known as our "digital wellbeing")
- Are our experiences in digital settings mainly positive? Or do they have a negative impact on us and how we perceive the world, causing more distress and worry?
- Are digital technologies making our lives easier by simplifying and enhancing them? Or the contrary?
- Are we capable of using digital technologies positively, for instance to learn, connect and build meaningful relationships and virtual communities?
- Are we equipped with the necessary strategies, skills, and tools to handle digital challenges such as managing screen time quality and information overload, and managing our digital footprints and boosting them with positive content?
- Do we know how to act wisely if something goes wrong in the digital environment?
Note: Given that ‘digital wellbeing’ is a relatively new area of interest, there is not a single definition agreed upon by researchers. As technology evolves and brings upon digital innovations, we will continue to evolve and update our platform!
Our Digital Wellbeing principles:
- Digital wellbeing is an integral part of our overall wellbeing as citizens, communities, and a nation.
- Our digital lives can have significant bearings on our offline lives. They are not separate but rather highly interlinked. Taking care of our digital wellbeing means taking care of our overall wellbeing.
- Resisting digital technologies is futile. Rather than refusing to accept all new digital technologies, with a digital wellbeing mindset we encourage learning how to safely use technology and reap its many wonderful benefits.
- Just as thriving citizens lead positive, healthy, responsible and fulfilled lives, so too thriving digital citizens must lead positive, healthy, responsible and fulfilled lives in the digital environment.
- Just as connected communities form a safe, caring, engaged, and tolerant society built on cohesive and resilient families and communities, so too inhabitants of the digital environment must form safe, positive, and meaningful virtual communities built on supportive ties.
Why Digital Wellbeing?
In the UAE :
- 9.52 million/ 99% are active internet users
- 93% of parents said their children use the internet
- An average of 8 hours is spent online daily
- An average of 3 hours is spent on social media
- 71% of parents state exposure to inappropriate imagery as a digital concern
- 65% of parents state interaction with a strangers as a main digital concern
- 62% of parents state cyberbullying as a main digital concern
- 61% of parents state exposure to dangerous games as a main digital concern
- "UAE is looking at a fully digitized future….with internet penetration edging closer to 100% every year."
In our efforts to continually improve the wellbeing of UAE citizens, it is critical that we focus on improving the quality of our digital lives, and safety is at the heart of digital wellbeing.
The reality is that the digital age is here to stay, and grow. As our world becomes increasingly digital, digital wellbeing has become both our shield against the potential risks of digital technologies, and our way to make the best out of them.
As an anticipatory step to prepare for a fully digitized future, our Digital Wellbeing online platform provides you with a growing bank of resources to support and enhance our digital wellbeing and overall wellbeing as a community.
Ideally, before we limitlessly expose ourselves and our children to digital devices and technologies, we must seek to learn about the basics of digital wellbeing and online safety. We must also instill positive digital values and behaviors that enforce good global citizenship, respect and tolerance.
Our safety and wellbeing is critical for our future as a nation.