Personal well-being and the use of technology during lockdown

Javier García-Manglano, Charo Sádaba, Cecilia Serrano and Claudia López, research group, Institute of Culture and Society, University of Navarra

Millions of people in a number of countries found themselves confined to their homes due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, giving rise to an unprecedented social, personal and psychological experience. In an international study with a population sample of over 9,300 people in Spanish-speaking countries, the authors found that most of the respondents acknowledge that their well-being deteriorated as a result. In this situation, technology has been extremely helpful for the general populace, as it enabled them to remain in contact with friends and family and to work, study and shop from home. However, the amount of time spent in front of screens is relevant to personal well-being, as excessive use of technology is associated with lower levels of well-being.
Key points
  • 1
       Just 17% of the survey sample state that their well-being was not affected by lockdown; 45% say their well-being deteriorated a bit; 28% that it fell quite a lot; and 10% that it worsened considerably.
  • 2
       Young adults, women and people who have not completed higher education present lower levels of well-being than older adults, men and people who have completed higher education.
  • 3
       70% of those surveyed spent quite a bit or a lot more time in front of screens during lockdown; 27% say they spent only a little more; and just 3% say they did not use technology more during lockdown than they had been prior to the health crisis.
  • 4
       On average, screens were used for 9 hours and 16 minutes a day during lockdown; of these, just over 5 hours were for work or study purposes and the rest for other reasons such as communication or entertainment.
  • 5
       People who use a technology a lot as a form as escapism, to observe the lives of others or to consume pornography present lower levels of well-being.
  • 6
       Higher levels of well-being are found among those who did more physical exercise or other activities not in front of screens during lockdown and also among those who declare they are very happy with their friends and family.
Spending more time on social media, entertainment and communication is associated with lower levels of well-being
Spending more time on social media, entertainment and communication is associated with lower levels of well-being

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Javier García-Manglano, Charo Sádaba, Cecilia Serrano and Claudia López , research group, Institute of Culture and Society, University of Navarra

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