DISCONNECT –Digital Wellbeing in a Culture of Ubiquitous Connectivity: Towards a Dynamic Pathway Model

Digital Wellbeing
Computational Social Science
Digital Ethnography

Digital technologies such as smartphones, laptops and smart watches enable an ever-present connectivity. This connectivity both empowers us and threatens our autonomy. On the one hand, digital technologies help us manage our everyday life and reach our personal goals. On the other hand, they divert our attention away from our primary activities, and exert pressure to be permanently online and permanently connected. This paradox creates an urgent challenge to balance connectivity and “disconnectivity." Current scholarship lacks answers to this conundrum. The DISCONNECT project aims to fill this gap by building a dynamic pathway model of digital wellbeing. Through empirical tests of her model, Dr Vanden Abeele will generate new insights into the science of digital well-being. How do individuals understand and practice digital wellbeing? Which constellations of person-, device- and context-specific factors contribute to digital wellbeing, and does digital wellbeing protect against burnout or depression? How effective are interventions such as digital detoxes and screen monitoring apps? Armed with new evidence, users, technology developers and policy makers will more likely be able to make our relationship with technology happier and healthier.

We at imec-mict-UGent will host the DISCONNECT project. In total, five colleagues of our research group will collaborate on the project.

Duration: June 2021-May 2026


Contact: Prof. dr. Mariek Vanden Abeele