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This is #DigitalCheckNRW

The #DigitalCheckNRW is an important project for the state government in NRW [North Rhine Westphalia] The aim is to enable digital participation for all citizens. You can test your own media skills via the check and fill  gaps by means of further training programs.

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Digital wellbeing - simple steps to more media balance

Just a quick watch of this one last TikTok video... Play one last round of your favorite game... Scroll, swipe, like one last time... And bang! It's two hours later again. Do you know it? Who doesn't!

In today's digitalized world, where smartphones, tablets & co. are our constant companions, the pull of the digital is almost infinite. Find out why digital wellbeing is so important and how you can be more mindful of your own media use.

1 What is digital wellbeing?

Digital wellbeing refers to the conscious and healthy use of digital media. It encompasses the ability to develop and use digital media literacy to promote our wellbeing in the digital world. It is important to be aware of the influence of the digital world on our well-being and to apply strategies to minimize negative effects. A conscious approach to digital media is of great importance for our mental health and quality of life.

Excessive use of social media or excessive multitasking can exacerbate stress-related symptoms such as sleep disorders or anxiety. Added to this are possible confrontations with cyberbullying, online hate or fake news. You should therefore be conscious of your digital habits: Set time limits, take regular breaks and create moments without screen activity. You can also improve your digital well-being by consciously focusing your attention on the moment and decoupling yourself from constant accessibility.

2 Why is digital wellbeing important?

Digitalization has transformed our lives in many ways and catapulted us into an era where connectivity and information are constant companions. Although technology undoubtedly brings a wealth of benefits, it also presents various challenges that can affect our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Digital wellbeing is about finding a balance between the use of digital technologies and our individual needs. The ubiquitous availability of smartphones, social media, etc. can unconsciously alienate us from the analog world. This in turn can have negative consequences for our interpersonal relationships, our productivity and our mental well-being.

Another important aspect concerns the sheer endless flood of information we are exposed to on a daily basis. The incessant scrolling through news feeds and the constant supply of information can lead to overload and stress. Our ability to concentrate and focus on our work can suffer if we don't consciously take regular breaks from the digital world.

Of course,digital wellbeing also affects the physical impact of technology use. Prolonged screen use can lead to eye strain, sleep problems and postural problems. The constant urge to respond to notifications can affect our sleep quality and therefore our nightly recovery process. In summary, digital wellbeing is relevant because it enables us to exploit the potential of the digital age without jeopardizing our health and quality of life. It encourages us to cultivate a responsible relationship with technology and make conscious choices about our digital media use for the benefit of a balanced and fulfilling life in the modern world.

Test your digital knowledge now!

3. what are the psychological effects of consuming too much digital content?

In principle, the use of digital media is neither harmful nor dangerous as long as it is moderate, age-appropriate content is consumed and people know how to deal with potential risks. However, excessive consumption of digital content can have various negative effects. Here are just some of the possible consequences:

  • Excessive use: excessive media consumption can lead to addiction. People can feel the urge to constantly use their digital devices and feel restless or irritable when they can't be online. This excessive usage behavior can affect quality of life and lead to neglect of other important activities. However, it should also be borne in mind that people are different and what constitutes excessive media consumption can vary greatly from person to person.
  • Social isolation: Excessive consumption of digital content can lead to social isolation. People who spend a lot of time on digital media sometimes withdraw from social interactions in other areas of life. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, even if these people maintain many contacts and relationships in the digital world, for example on social networks. However, you should always be careful when comparing analog and digital social contacts with each other and judging one as better, more important or healthier than the other.
  • Sleep disorders: Increased use of digital devices before bedtime can lead to sleep disorders. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the natural sleep-wake cycle and make it difficult to fall asleep. As a result, you may feel tired and unfocused during the day. It is therefore advisable to avoid excessive use of digital devices immediately before going to bed in order to promote healthy sleep, or at least to use aids such as blue light filters.
  • Anxiety and reduced self-esteem: When people constantly compare themselves to others on social media, this can have negative consequences for their self-esteem. For young people in particular, this can lead to fears of not being beautiful or slim enough, for example, and of supposedly not meeting the standards of those around them. Their emotional well-being can suffer greatly as a result.

4. how can I improve my digital well-being?

Regularlyreflect on your media use to raise awareness of your behavior. Ask yourself whether the time you spend online is in line with your values and identify problematic habits. For example, times or situations will emerge in which you spend an excessive amount of time online or are exposed to negative content. Be aware of the emotional and physical impact of your online activities and allow yourself screen breaks to recover.

It is essential to enjoy activities without digital devices. It sounds simple, but some people still find it difficult sometimes. Read a book, go for a walk or meet up with friends. Prioritize your offline time and set clear limits for your internet use. Think about a digital detox routine, such as time-limited social media use. Consciously make time for activities such as sport or meeting up with friends.

5. which apps and settings can be supported?

To actively work on your own digital well-being, there are a variety of apps and settings available to help you develop a healthier relationship with technology. Here are some recommendations:

  • Screen time tracking and app limits: Almost all popular smartphone models have built-in features that allow you to track your screen time. This gives you an overview of how much time you spend using different apps at any given time. In addition, you can often set limits to restrict the time you spend in certain apps. These "little helpers" support you in managing your time more consciously and limiting excessive app use.
  • Notification management: The flood of (push) notifications can be distracting and significantly affect your concentration. Therefore, disable or reduce such notifications for less urgent apps. This way, you can focus on the notifications that really matter and thus minimize interruptions.
  • Dark mode: Dark mode is becoming increasingly popular as it reduces the amount of blue light on screens. This feature can help reduce strain on your eyes and minimize potential sleep disruptions, especially if you use your devices in the evening.
  • Relaxation and meditation apps: There are numerous relaxation and meditation apps that offer you guided exercises, breathing techniques, soothing sounds, and more. All of these can help you reduce stress and promote your inner peace.
  • Sleep tracking apps: Healthy sleep is essential to our well-being. You can use apps to track your sleep habits and gain insights into your sleep quality. This way, you can establish healthy sleep patterns and improve your well-being. But you should honestly only make use of them for a limited time, because basically, it's best to go without any app for healthy sleep.
  • Digital detox apps: By setting blocking times, you can restrict access to certain apps during those periods. This gives you the opportunity to rest and devote your time to other activities.
  • Activity trackers: Enjoying the outdoors and staying active is important. With the help of activity tracker apps, you can monitor your exercise and physical activities to promote a balanced lifestyle. But here, too, it's important that you use an appropriate app in a reflective way. While activity trackers can motivate you to exercise, they can also monitor more than you might want.

All these apps and settings can be valuable tools to promote your digital well-being. By using technology in a measured and conscious way and implementing these tools, you can have a positive impact on your physical, emotional and mental well-being.