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Digital Technologies and Well-being

Digital technologies are increasingly permeating our daily routines and changing how we work, spend our free time and interact with each other. While proponents expect the spread of these technologies to have positive effects for both individuals and society, opponents fear risks such as information overload, dependencies and loss of privacy. In light of these controversies, the goal of our research group was to explore the long-term individual and societal consequences of using digital technologies.

This research group conducted research at the Weizenbaum Institute from 2017 to 2022. In the newly launched research program, research will henceforth be organised in 16 research groups. These will be flanked and supported by the new Weizenbaum Digital Science Center.

The Impact of Using Digital Technologies

Digital technologies - from smartphones to self-trackers to social media - are ubiquitous in our everyday lives. It is estimated that the number of smartphone users worldwide will reach a new high of almost three billion in the near future. A similar development is predicted for the use of social media.

While large technology corporations are pursuing the question of which innovations tie up money, time and the attention of consumers in their research departments, there is a lack of independent scientific research that critically examines the effects of these technologies.

The goal of our research

Our intention was to fill this gap and provide the public with a better understanding of how the use of digital technologies affects the well-being, behavior, and decision-making processes of users. In addition to general society, special status groups with specific characteristics were to be considered, such as children, youth, and seniors. To achieve this goal, the research group relied on a variety of different empirical methods such as surveys, qualitative interviews, experiments, and machine learning methods.

For example, we addressed the following questions:

    What is the impact of social media use on various aspects of its users' well-being, such as self-esteem?
    What is the impact of smartphone use on the individual, e.g., on sleep?
    How does social media influence our opinions and actions, e.g., in the context of personalized political advertising?


Prof. Dr. Hanna Krasnova, Director, Principal Investigator

Dr. Annika Baumann, Research Group Lead

  • Dr. Olga Abramova
  • Katharina Baum
  • Dr. Fenne große Deters
  • Margarita Gladkaya
  • Hugo Hinze
  • Dr. Hannes-Vincent Krause
  • Faysal Mizan
  • Max Töpfer



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