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How's Life in the Digital Age?

Opportunities and Risks of the Digital Transformation for People's Well-being

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This report documents how the ongoing digital transformation is affecting people’s lives across the 11 key dimensions that make up the How’s Life? Well-being Framework (Income and wealth, Jobs and earnings, Housing, Health status, Education and skills, Work-life balance, Civic engagement and governance, Social connections, Environmental quality, Personal security, and Subjective well-being). A summary of existing studies highlights 39 key impacts of the digital transformation on people’s well-being. The review shows that these impacts can be positive as digital technologies expand the boundaries of information availability and enhance human productivity, but can also imply risks for people’s well-being, ranging from cyber-bullying to the emergence of disinformation or cyber-hacking. In sum, making digitalisation work for people’s well-being would require building equal digital opportunities, widespread digital literacy and strong digital security. Continued research and efforts in improving statistical frameworks will be needed to expand our knowledge on the many topics covered in this report.

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Evidence on opportunities and risks for well-being in the digital age

This chapter provides a comprehensive review of the literature on the well-being impact of the digital transformation using the lens of the How’s Life? well-being framework. For each dimension of well-being and the additional dimension of ICT access and use, the key impacts of the digital transformation are discussed and illustrated with the help of available indicators, distinguishing between opportunities and risks triggered by digital technologies. For almost all dimensions of well-being, the chapter identifies both positive and negative effects, suggesting that the digital transformation often has an ambiguous influence on people’s well-being.

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