The last 18 months have seen majority of the population adopt a more digital lifestyle, with all that it entails. Connectivity has changed the way users engage with one another in every aspect of their lives, from shopping to entertainment, working and attending virtual classes, dating to building online communities. This inevitable interruption has been a serious cause of stress and anxiety amongst users, therefore Kaspersky has since explored the concept of digital wellness in efforts to combat the negative effects.
Digital wellness can be defined as the impact that digital technology and devices have on a person’s mental, physical, emotional, and social health. Not only does this involve the way we interact with technology, but it also focuses on how to effectively build and maintain a balance in our online and offline lives. The pandemic certainly made the balance between the two really difficult.
According to a recent global study, people think technology has a neutral or even positive impact on their wellbeing. However, when it comes to how often people perform an activity and how they feel that affects them, the results highlight several concerns. For instance, 28% of respondents feel looking at content on their devices before they go to sleep will negatively impact their wellbeing. Similarly, 26% of people believe that using more than one screen at a time is also not good for them.
“Digital technology has transformed the way we learn, work, play, socialize, shop and even heal, a fact made even more evident during the last couple of years. While the benefits are undeniable, navigating this immersion presents us with its own challenges. Cyberbullying, online predators, data security threats, disconnection from others, burnout, stress, sedentary lifestyle and impact on self-esteem, focus, sleep quality and work life balance are just some of the ways in which our hyper connectivity is compromising our wellbeing. It will require a concerted effort by individuals, families and employees to gain the knowledge, tools and discipline to prioritize cyber security and digital wellness.” “Says Aamnah Husain, a Dubai based Counselling Psychologist.
Just like technological advances in agriculture and industry allowed for cheap and readily available foods yet we have learned to avoid overly processed, high sugar content, chemical laden goods to preserve our physical health. In much the same way, we have the power to filter through the quantity and quality of our screen time, take charge of our digital habits and make technology work for us.” continues Husain.
“To safeguard your health, track your online activity and screen time usage, create boundaries between work and leisure, designate device free zones in the home, try digital detox for a period, spend time in movement, meditation and nature. Constant distraction from devices can lead to stress and disconnection from ourselves and our loved ones, so most importantly, carve out time to directly experience others, to connect and share real moments. Learning these skills is becoming imperative for our wellbeing,” adds Husain.
People however are still learning to nurture this relationship with technology so that we can better trust systems and devices especially with our personal data. We are still figuring out how to use these digital devices more mindfully to avoid potential anxiety or burnout.
“Considering older generations as an example. They might not have necessarily been accustomed to and comfortable with all things digital, but to stay in touch with loved ones, they had to undergo a mind shift. Even children, who are growing up with technology, have had to adapt to digital schooling at times when face-to-face classes were not possible. Today, it has become less about what we need to do online and more about better managing everything we do in the digital space.” said Ara Arakelian, HR Manager for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Kaspersky.
“Various methods exist for to address the technology-induced anxieties; this can include everything from switching off your device notifications for an hour a day to ergonomically enhancing your workspace or getting that help online as well. It is about thinking differently about technology and using it in ways to enhance our lives without adding to our stress levels,” adds Ara.
Users do not need to give in to these digital anxieties. There are several ways to help ensure a healthy digital life that places digital wellness at the centre, for example Kaspersky has created Cyber Spa – a unique digital space where users can practice various online relaxation techniques aimed at helping them handle digital stress and anxiety.
For more information, please visit the recently launched Kaspersky Cyber Spa platform designed to provide people with several relaxation options to improve their digital wellbeing. These include audio-visual meditations, audio relaxation therapy, tactile anti-stress meditation, and exercises aimed at removing signs of stress and negative emotions.