Two of the most important aspects of digital citizenship are the physical (health) and psychological wellbeing (wellness) of one’s self while living and interacting in an ever-increasing digital technological world. Given the high frequency with which young people use technologies, particularly in their personal lives, health and wellbeing are areas that need to be addressed in order to develop well-balanced future citizens.

In the physical health aspect, excessive use of technology can bring about a range of physical issues from postural distress and lack of exercise to disrupted life-balance. Moreover, the ergonomics of the workstation have become more important than ever, given the frequency and duration of use of technologies. Some injuries that need to be addressed and avoided include repetitive stress injuries, eyestrain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Simple solutions such as table height or screen placement or placing limits on the time spent in front of a screen can preclude health problems.

In the psychosocial aspect, it is recognized that a cultural shift is occurring with respect to what is expected of individuals in social settings, in relationships with others through and with technology (e.g social media, online forums, etc.). The nature of highly mobile and highly connected technology places pressure on the nature of social connectedness and behavior, both physical and virtual. Among the numerous ethical considerations and risks related to mental and psychological health and well-being, perhaps the biggest ones are linked to impoverished interactions between humans and the progressively reduced “field of vision” imposed by the filter bubble search engines build around a person through profiling. Both limit the development of openness to cultural diversity and the capacity to engage with other beliefs and attitudes. Self-esteem is another aspect to be taken into consideration, especially since it is closely linked to the use of social media and the “likes” one might get for their photographs or their posts. Finally, among the most alarming facts related to youth’s health and wellbeing is the rising percentages of young people suffering from some type of media addiction.  They exhibit compulsive behavior that interferes with their normal living and causes high levels of stress on family, friends and one’s work environment (Young, 2009). Achieving balance has become a very relevant characteristic of healthy citizens.

Balance is truly the operative word in the digital domain of health and well-being and necessitates a blend of the full range of digital competences, from values to attitudes, and skills to knowledge and critical understanding. Balance is something that young people need to develop by learning to listen, observe, show empathy and co-operate. Well-being is built to a large degree on how young people perceive themselves through the eyes of others, and hence on interaction with others.



Why is this course needed?

“Over the past quarter of a decade, European society appears to have acknowledged health and well-being as essential elements in digital citizenship, and is striving to upgrade education systems accordingly. This requires taking into account the social, physical, cognitive and psychological aspects of learners rather than just performance-related aspects. It underlines the importance of focusing on the individual as well as the group”[1]

This course on digital health and wellbeing is necessary for a number of reasons, as presented below:

■       because the impact on technologies and digital services on young people’s mental, physical and emotional health is enormous

■       because numerous mental health issues are directly connected to the use of digital technologies

■       because youth’s social wellbeing, including aspects such as maintaining healthy relationships and participating in communities is highly affected by their use of the media and the social networks

■       because many physical problems diagnosed among the youth are linked to their digital habits

■       because there is a constant need to develop critical thinking among the population of youth on the ways they act, interact and counteract in online environments

■       because the concepts of digital health and wellbeing are still underestimated or ignored for many young people.


This course transforms the lessons through exploration and willingness to discover new concepts, new ideas and new ways of thinking. 

This is intended to be a course that provide trainees knowledge, skills and competences in order to achieve a healthy and balanced life between their online and offline activities.

[1] Digital Citizenship Education Handbook, 2019, Council of Europe