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The impact of digital technologies on human wellbeing

Evidence from the sciences of mind and brain

Illustration from the Internet and the brain state of art review

Exploring what it means to use the internet safely is more than understanding online privacy and personal security. It is important to understand the implications of our online life for our offline well-being - that is, to explore the implications of using interactive technologies on the ways in which we behave, on our values and on our mental and physical health. At Nominet Trust, we are committed to supporting initiatives and organisations that work towards a safer, more accessible internet, used for social good. In doing so, we need to be aware of safe internet use in its broadest sense.

This publication aims to highlight what the field of neuroscience can tell us about the implications of using interactive technologies on young people’s brains, behaviours and attitudes. It brings together the latest research from this emerging area, not only to understand its implications, but to recognize the limitations of the existing evidence. By doing so, we hope to highlight what is known about ‘safe uses’ of interactive technologies, but also what is not known, i.e. what cannot be claimed or needs to be researched in more detail. If we are to develop effective and safe practices that use digital technologies, we need to be clear about the evidence that we build upon and ask more nuanced questions to determine where future research should be focused.