Sunday, April 21News For London

Do you feel happy to live in the digital age?

The World Happiness report released on 20th March. The Rank of the UK has increased to 15th place since 2013.

(Data from the World Happiness report; Graph: Bowei)

The measurement involves many factors such as GDP, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom and corruption levels.


The top three happiest countries are Finland, Denmark, Norway. Among them, Finland was a second year to be the happiest countries in the world.


In the digital era, people spend more time on social media. Based on the recent UK social media statistic, there are 45 million social media users, which is equal to 67% of the entire population. Of these, there are 39 million mobile social media users. On average, people in the UK spend about 1 hour 50 minutes on social media sites.



According to the World Happiness report, by analysing the data from 2006 to 2017, internet hour has a negative correlation with happiness, sleep and in-person social interaction.

(Source: World Happiness Report 2019)

In 2007, Apple launched the first iPhone. Ten years later, the screen time took a lot of personal spare time.


(Souce: Bureau of Labour Statistics)

In Adam Alter research in 2017, some applications such as relaxation, exercise, weather, or reading can people feel happy, and people spend about 9 minutes on these. On the contrary, once people quit from using the dating, social network or gaming or entertainment applications, it can make them feel upset, and people spend about 30 minutes on these on average.(Source: Courtesy of Dylan Harrington 2017)

The psychologist Adam Alter said, “The reasons that social networking or news application cause unhappy is that they break stopping cues. Stopping cues is an indicator in daily life to inform people to stop doing something and to move the next task. Thus, news and social networking on mobile phones such as Twitter or Facebook are bottomless, and the news feed rolls on, which are not like the physical newspaper or books.”


People rely on their phones to fill up with all their spare time. Mobile phone or social media is just like a drug, and people are addicted to it. It is called tele-pressure or iphone anxiety. The researcher found that when people leave their phone, their heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels are influenced.

In the Ofcom report on media use in 2019, 99% of children aged between 12-15s spend about 20 hours on the internet, and over half of them have their social media accounts.

(Source: Ofcom report 2019)

According to recent research from the University of Oxford, it showed how the screen time could affect a teenager’s mental health and happiness.


The research investigated 17,000 teenagers from the UK, the US, and Ireland. The statistics gathered from the self-reported data given by the smart phone, which were used to measure their well-being by monitoring their psychosocial functioning, self-esteem and mood.


The result clarified that the effect is “minuscule”. Using the phone or other digital devices for more than two hours did not have a clear relationship with a decline or increase of mental health.


In the past, psychological scientists believed addicted to a smart phone or social media could cause lack of sleep, loss of face to face social communication skills. The recent research proved how long adolescents spend on social media might not drive the mental health problem. However, the content on social media may have some negative impacts on their mental health.


Some self-harm contents such as the Blue whale challenges requires participants to commit suicide. The Blue whale challenge asked young people to complete 50 different tasks in 50 days, and controlled and affected their behaviour and thoughts. The game caused many deaths in the world.


In the information era, people do spend much time on their phones and over-rely on them. However, it doesn’t mean the digital and economic development make people unhappy; it is just the way that people use technology to make ourselves feel more pressure and anxiety. The World Happiness Report can prove that developed countries have a higher happy index and the index has increased with economic and technological development.