Our digital wellbeing research programme

The Digital Wellbeing Research programme tracks the experiences of children in the online space to help families, educators, Industry and Government make effective and supportive changes.

A dad sits with his daughter while she uses a device.

What is digital wellbeing?

Children's wellbeing online is impacted in many ways, both positive and negative. Our wellbeing programme highlights what these impacts might be so we can help families and educators keep children safe online.

Additionally, our findings work to inform actions needed by both Industry and Government to make the online space as safe as it can be for children and the most vulnerable.

Children’s Wellbeing in a Digital World Index

The digital world is a key part of many children’s lives as it constantly grows and changes. Yet, the social norms and protections are often much slower to resolve, which means there remain considerable concerns. Much of the growth and changes are unregulated, with few social and legal constraints protecting children and young people.

Children’s Wellbeing in a Digital World takes responses from an annual survey that asks questions to both parents and children.

The Index helps to track changes in children’s online experiences year-on-year. Its findings highlights important opportunities to support all children and help them flourish in a digital world.

Additionally, those creating digital products, settings policy agenda or otherwise supporting, educating or parenting children can make informed decisions on how to do so.

Supporting children’s online safety

Research from the Index emphasises the importance of supportive home environments and offers insights into the digital tools needed to help manage children’s wellbeing. Importantly, it highlights the areas in which children’s wellbeing might be most affected, including as they relate to children with vulnerabilities.

The Digital Wellbeing Index helps guide Internet Matters’ creation of resources and tools to support parents, carers and educators. Moreover, it helps inform sectors in Education and Policy to take action in ways that will most benefit children’s growth and safety as they interact with their online world.

Defining digital wellbeing

Defining digital wellbeing

While many ways exist to measure and define wellbeing, our Index follows a four-dimensional model. This model draws on broader literature and conversations with many people within different sectors. The four models are developmental, emotional, physical and social wellbeing.

The four-dimensional model

  • Developmental: cognitive ability, achievement in education, managing financial responsibility with maturation, personal growth
  • Emotional: healthy emotional and spiritual development, the ability to cope with stress and setbacks, development of values and a positive outlook, space and opportunities to flourish; life purpose; autonomy; feeling successful.
  • Physical: achieving and maintaining health, developing physical capabilities, using tech in physical safety, and amount of necessary access to supportive or accessibility tech.
  • Social: participation in the community, being an active citizen, working with others, healthy online interactions, positive and sustainable online personae, managing risks, good relationships online and off, and communication.

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Support children's wellbeing

Get tailored advice for your child's interests and habits with My Family's Digital Toolkit.


Explore the latest research

Year 3 of the Children's Digital Wellbeing Index saw that, overall, children's digital wellbeing has improved compared with the previous year.

63% of parents believe time online negatively impacts their children’s health.

2/3 of children report experiencing online harms.

75% of children view technology and the internet as important to their independence.

2/3 of children say spending time online makes them feel mostly happy.

Past digital wellbeing research

Explore our previous Index reports along with other digital wellbeing research.

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Digital Wellbeing Index report 2023

Explore the research from last year's Index report to compare findings.

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Digital Wellbeing Index report 2022

Explore the research from our first Index report for insight into changes year-on-year.

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Digital parenting report 2022

Explore the importance of parental influence on children’s digital activity and wellbeing.

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Wellbeing in a digital world 2021

Understand the links between the use of connected tech and wellbeing within families.


Explore our other research

See research reports into a range of topics that impact children online.

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