Young people are growing up in a world where technology has always been present for them and this can have both a positive and negative impact on their lives.
On the one hand going online can mean being connected to friends, sharing experiences and learning new things but all of these experiences can also pose challenges for young people. With the online world being such a huge part of young people’s lives today, it’s very important that we help them to understand how to use it safely, sensibly and with an awareness of how it can impact on them.
Our overall wellbeing is determined by the physical and emotional experiences we have on a daily basis. As technology continues to be such a huge part of our lives, from the way we represent who we are to the interactions we have with others, it too has an impact on our wellbeing. This is often referred to as your ‘digital wellbeing’ or ‘online wellness.’
It is essentially about having an awareness of how being online can make us feel and looking after ourselves and others when online. This can include recognising the impact being online can have on our emotions, mental wellbeing and even on our physical health and knowing what to do if something goes wrong.
Our digital wellbeing can be influenced by the choices we make online, the content we see, the interactions we have with others and even how long we spend engaging with technology and the internet. Reports have found that those who spend extended amounts of time online are more likely to see upsetting content, receive abusive comments or send abuse to others.
Technology and the internet should be there to enhance and simplify our lives rather than be a cause of distraction, worry or upset. However, not all online experiences are positive for young people and this can have a negative impact on how they feel about themselves, their friendships and relationships and even how they see the wider world.