CORDIS - EU research results

Disconnect2Reconnect? Understanding Well-Being in an Increasingly Digital Society

Project description

Strategies for managing digital media use

The rapid increase of social media usage and connectivity via numerous social media platforms and the potential negative effects on well-being is a topic of public concern. As ideas of controlled use of media and ‘digital detoxes’ gain popularity, there is an urgent need for scholars to understand how people’s strategies to manage their digital media use may enhance their well-being. The EU-funded Disconnect2Reconnect project will develop a theory-driven model to study the mechanisms of social media use, strategies of disconnecting from social media, and consequences for well-being among young adults. The project will use a multi-method approach and combine mobile experience sampling methods with panel surveys. It will contribute to developing recommendations, tailored guidelines and educational interventions, and give insight into how digital media can be used in a way that enhances well-being.


Mobile devices, and the ‘always on’ connectivity they enable via numerous social media services, are increasingly blamed for a decline in well-being among young people. In today’s ‘poly-social-media’ landscape where people often make use of multiple platforms for different purposes, the increasing pressure to check updates combined with an overload of information available can lead to increased emotional exhaustion and declines in physical health (e.g. sleep disturbance). Consequently, there is a growing trend of users desiring to disconnect from or to use social media more mindfully, but many struggle to do so effectively. While the idea of ‘digital detoxes’ is increasingly adverted in mainstream media and gaining public popularity, academic research is still in its infancy. This is problematic, as ‘social media fatigue’ – a state whereby people suffer from mental exhaustion after experiencing technological, informative and communicative overloads through their participation different social media platforms – might become a serious mental health issue due to the ubiquitous nature of mobile and social media. Fostering citizen’s digital competences and skills to effectively navigate digital society highly fits with the aims and scope of the European Commission’s 21st century ‘Digital Competence Framework’. Using a multi-method approach, combining mobile experience sampling methods and panel surveys, this action develops and tests a theory-driven model to explain the antecedents of social media fatigue, the strategies people use to disconnect from social media, and the short-term and long-term consequences for subjective well-being among young adults. The resulting Disconnect2Reconnect model advances theory and methods, offers actionable recommendations to practitioners on mindful media use in an increasingly digital society, and is fundamental for developing tailored guidelines and educational interventions to promote healthy media use and digital well-being.


Net EU contribution
€ 203 149,44
8006 Zurich

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Zürich Zürich
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 203 149,44