Beyond Digital: Planning for a Hybrid World

Marston, Hannah; Wilson, Gemma; Morgan, D. J. and Gates, Jessica (2021). Beyond Digital: Planning for a Hybrid World. In Covid-19 Committee: 1st Report of Session 2019-21 House of Lords.



In October 2020, we launched an inquiry into how a rapidly increasing reliance on digital technology, accelerated by the pandemic, may have a long-term impact on our social and economic wellbeing. There are many definitions of wellbeing, with Marie Brousseau-Navarro, from the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, emphasising the importance of economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing. For the purpose of this inquiry, we are using the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) definition of wellbeing as “how we are doing, as individuals, communities and as a nation and how sustainable this is for the future”. Research has consistently found that the most important drivers of adult wellbeing are mental and physical health, relationships and employment, and so we decided to focus
our work on the impact that digital technology is likely to have on these aspects of our lives in 2–5 years’ time, the opportunities and threats that this poses to our wellbeing, and what the Government should do in response. Given the critical role of education for the future wellbeing of children and young people, we also included consideration of this in our work. As our remit asked us to focus on social and economic wellbeing, we wanted our report to consider life online in the context of wellbeing. As Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve reminded us: “Growth for the sake of growth no longer translates necessarily into greater well-being;” when looking at the benefits and drawbacks of life online we would support that.

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