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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 the United Kingdom?

Overall, the United Kingdom has fully embraced the opportunities of the digital transformation, but it is also highly exposed to the risks, relative to other OECD countries. The United Kingdom performs in the top tier when it comes to access to Internet and Internet use. It has the highest rate of access to digital resources in the classroom, with 90% of students using digital resources, compared to an OECD average of 63%. People in the United Kingdom also make use of online consumption services more than in any other OECD country. Employment in information industries is relatively high, and the labour market returns to ICT skills are above the OECD average. The United Kingdom’s openness to digital transformation has also led to an exposure to risks. The high share of workers with computer-based jobs gives rise to the pitfalls of job stress and worries about work when not working. The level of inequality of uses is relatively high, which means that not everyone makes full use of the breadth of possible online activities. In addition, the risks for children are substantial, with 37% of extreme Internet users among 15-year-olds, the second highest share in the OECD.

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