Digital Wellbeing Aspect 6: Digital Communication stands for ways of connecting with others online. Our digital communication is surrounded by many myths that can if internalised, impact our wellbeing negatively.
We assume that most people suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), occasionally shifting to the JOMO (joy of missing out) when instead we could maybe focus on what is happening for our friends – maybe their travel photos actually give us an opportunity to celebrate their time off, their opportunity to relax and an invitation to join them virtually in those adventures.
We assume that levels of bullying are much higher in cyberspace when in reality, it is much easier to switch off or report a conversation online than in a dark alley. In fact, when measured in comparison with offline bullying, young people reported much lower levels of online abuse – it’s just that such contextual studies rarely happen. Cyberbullying is serious, of course, and we need to fight it. However, we need to speak of it in a more balanced manner.
Another core myth relates to the addictive nature of online games. Like with bullying, contextually, we are not considering the changes people undergo in offline reality – work-related stress, social inequalities, increased levels of crime, and invasive and invalidating neoliberal systems. We judge young people who spend time on Xbox, forgetting that their youth clubs are closed, and instead of getting into serious challenges on the streets of our cities, they sit at home and collaborate, build, challenge themselves and support each other in virtual spaces.
As you can see, online interactions are much more complex than the mainstream myths that surround them. The lack of kindness extends to virtual spaces, of course, but it’s not the only way of relating that we experience online.
So spend a moment reflecting on positive, nurturing, supportive experiences of human contact with the help of digital technologies.
How can you manage your interactions proactively to limit toxicity and nurture kindness and wellbeing?
If you found this helpful, you can find a handy Digital Wellbeing Assessment with more insights on our homepage or here.