ERC Starting Grant holder Mariek Vanden Abeele joins our team

(27-01-2021) The 'digital well-being' team within mict will be reinforced with Prof. dr. Mariek Vanden Abeele and her project 'DISCONNECT - Digital Well-being in a Culture of Ubiquitous Connectivity: Towards a Dynamic Pathway Model'.

On February 1 we welcome Mariek again in our team! In 2015-2016 she already worked at mict as a postdoc researcher. She left us for a position as Associate Professor at the University of Tilburg (The Netherlands). However, we continued working together and the digital well-being team at mict further expanded. Mariek will further strengthen this team with her project ‘Digital Wellbeing in a Culture of Ubiquitous Connectivity: Towards a Dynamic Pathway Model (DISCONNECT)’.

The science of digital well-being

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 disconnectivity. Current scholarship lacks answers to this conundrum. Mariek Vanden Abeele, communication scientist at imec-mict-UGent (Belgium), aims to fill this gap by building a dynamic pathway model of digital well-being. Through empirical tests of her model, dr. Vanden Abeele hopes to get new insights. How do individuals understand and practice digital well-being? Which constellations of person-, device- and context-specific factors contribute to digital well-being, and does digital well-being protect against burnout or depression? How effective are interventions such as digital detoxes and screen monitoring apps? Armed with new evidence, users, technology developers and policy makers will more likely be able to make our relationship with technology happier and healthier.

Contact: Prof. dr. Mariek Vanden Abeele