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How's Life in the Digital Age?

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

Published on February 26, 2019

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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.

SUMMARIESavailable in 10 languages

English How's Life in the Digital Age? (Summary in English)
French Comment va la vie à l’ère du numérique ?
Spanish ¿Cómo es la vida en la era digital?
German How's Life im digitalen Zeitalter?
Japanese デジタル時代の人々の幸福
Italian Come va la vita nell'era digitale?
Chinese 数字时代的生活怎么样?
Korean 디지털 시대에서 삶은 어떠할까?
Portuguese Como Está a Vida na Era Digital?
Russian Какова жизнь в цифровую эпоху?

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword
Executive Summary
Understanding how the digital transformation affects people's well-being
Evidence on opportunities and risks for well-being in the digital age
Comparing well-being in the digital age across OECD countries
Country profiles36 chapters available
How's life in the digital age in Australia?
How's life in the digital age in Austria?
How's life in the digital age in Belgium?
How's life in the digital age in Canada?
How's life in the digital age in Chile?
How's life in the digital age in the Czech Republic?
How's life in the digital age in Denmark?
How's life in the digital age in Estonia?
How's life in the digital age in Finland?
How's life in the digital age in France?
How's life in the digital age in Germany?
How's life in the digital age in Greece?
How's life in the digital age in Hungary?
How's life in the digital age in Iceland?
How's life in the digital age in Ireland?
How's life in the digital age in Israel?
How's life in the digital age in Italy?
How's life in the digital age in Japan?
How's life in the digital age in Korea?
How's life in the digital age in Latvia?
How's life in the digital age in Lithuania?
How's life in the digital age in Luxembourg?
How's life in the digital age in Mexico?
How's life in the digital age in the Netherlands?
How's life in the digital age in New Zealand?
How's life in the digital age in Norway?
How's life in the digital age in Poland?
How's life in the digital age in Portugal?
How's life in the digital age in Slovakia?
How's life in the digital age in Slovenia?
How's life in the digital age in Spain?
How's life in the digital age in Sweden?
How's life in the digital age in Switzerland?
How's life in the digital age in Turkey?
How's life in the digital age in the United Kingdom?
How's life in the digital age in the United States?
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Key Findings 

  

 

A digital divide remains, as some people are more capable than others of leveraging the digital transformation for a better life 

While more and more people in OECD countries have access to digital technologies, a digital divide in the use of digital technologies persists. Inequalities along age, gender, and socio-economic lines in the use of digital technologies mean that certain groups are better able at using digital technologies for higher well-being outcomes in many dimensions, such as jobs and income, health, work-life balance and social connections. In additions, the risks of the digital transformation may also fall more heavily on people with lower levels of education and skills. Therefore, while the digital transformation offers opportunities for people to attain higher levels of well-being, it presents an overarching risk of increasing inequalities in well-being outcomes.

Extreme Internet use of 15 year olds,  2015 To benefit from digital technologies you need the right skills

Beyond pure digital skills, emotional and social skills associated with safely navigating the online world are necessary to fully benefit from digital technologies. This “digital literacy” allows people to harmoniously combine their digital and real lives, and avoid potential mental health problems associated with abuses of digital technologies. The extreme use of the Internet has been associated with a number of mental health risks, and the passive use of digital technologies has also been shown to have negative effects on subjective well-being outcomes.

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@OECD_STAT | wellbeing@oecd.org