BlogDigitisation

Disconnect to Reconnect? Pathways Towards a Healthier Relationship with Digital Technology

by Professor Mariek Vanden Abeele | online lecture

Professor Mariek Vanden Abeele

Communication Scientist, University of Ghent

15 Dec.

2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.34834/2019.0020

Key Words:

digital well-being
disconnection
digital diet

On 16 November 2021, we were delighted to host Dr. Mariek Vanden Abeele, Associate Professor of Digital Culture at Ghent University, Belgium, and recipient of a 2020 ERC Starting Grant on Digital Wellbeing, for an online lecture as part of our Transient Spaces Online Lecture Series. The title of the lecture was: Disconnect to Reconnect? Pathways Towards a Healthier Relationship with Digital Technology.

Digital technologies such as smartphones, laptops and smart watches enable an ever-present connectivity. This connectivity both empowers us and threatens our autonomy. On the one hand, digital technologies help us manage our everyday life and reach our personal goals. On the other hand, they divert our attention away from our primary activities, and exert pressure to be permanently online and permanently connected. This paradox creates an urgent challenge to balance connectivity and ‘disconnection’. Through her research, prof. dr. Mariek Vanden Abeele (imec-mict-UGent, Ghent University, Belgium) seeks for answers to this conundrum. How do individuals understand and practice digital well-being? Which constellations of person-, device- and context-specific factors contribute to digital well-being? How effective are interventions such as digital detoxes and screen monitoring apps? In this talk, Mariek explores the extant evidence to address what we can do to make our relationship with technology happier and healthier.

The research talk took place at the Department of Geography of the University of Innsbruck on 16 November 2021 and was hosted by the Research Group Transient Spaces & Societies.

Recommended reading:

Vanden Abeele, M. (2021) Digital Wellbeing as a Dynamic Construct, Communication Theory, Volume 31(4), 932–955, https://doi.org/10.1093/ct/qtaa024

DOI: https://doi.org/10.34834/2019.0020

Mariek Vanden Abeele is Associate Professor in Digital Culture in the research group for Media, Innovation and Communication Technologies, at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University, Belgium. She combines media psychological and media sociological perspectives to better understand the role that digital media use plays in everyday life and society. Her research focuses on mobile communication and social relationships, problematic smartphone use and digital well-being, mobile media and childhood, and the social implications of health and fitness wearable use.
Mariek is a recipient of a 2020 ERC Starting Grant on Digital Wellbeing and she has received various awards for both her teaching and her research output. Her work has been published in leading journals in the field of Communication Sciences, such as Communication Theory, Mobile Media & Communication, New Media & Society and Media Psychology.

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Professor Mariek Vanden Abeele

Communication Scientist, University of Ghent

Upcoming Transient Spaces Lecture

If you enjoyed this talk, you might also be interested in our second and final Transient Spaces Lecture this winter by Prof. Russell Hitchings, University College London, that will take place on 18 January 2022. For more information and registration, please see here.

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Research Group Transient Spaces & Societies

Geographisches Institut Innsbruck
Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck

 

 

Transient Spaces and Societies
Transient Spaces and Societies