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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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How's life in the digital age in Belgium?

Compared to other OECD countries, Belgium benefits from the opportunities of the digital transformation, but is also relatively heavily exposed to its risks. People in Belgium make use of large variety of Internet uses, including in specific dimensions, such digital social networking and online consumption. Belgium also ranks relatively high when it comes to digital skills, and the digital skills gap is one of the smallest of the OECD. Exposure to disinformation is relatively uncommon in Belgium, with 13% of people reporting having encountered disinformation in the last week, well below the OECD average. At the same time, online political and civic engagement is comparatively low: only 6% of individuals report having uploaded such posts in the last 3 months. There are several domains in which Belgium is particularly exposed to the risk of the digital transformation. Workers in Belgium are at relatively high risk of job stress and worries about work when not working due to having computer-based jobs. In addition, the level of extreme Internet use of children is above the OECD average. The environment is another domain where Belgium is exposed to risks, with a relatively high level of e-waste per person.

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