The ways in which we speak, act, learn, interact with each other and even see ourselves are increasingly changing in today's world thanks to new technologies. Now a new report has identified five key areas within society that have been impacted by digital transformation - and what society needs to be doing to maintain a healthy wellbeing for all . The report - co-authored by outgoing Prime Minister's Chief Scientist, Sir Peter Gluckman - note>- Understanding wellbeing in the context of rapid digital and associated transformations: Implications for research, policy and measurement - is released today by the International Network for Government Science Advice outfit. It canvasses the use of digital technology on children's development, the rise of cyber bullying and implications for mass data and social cohesion
1. Early childhood development
The report indicates just how much digital technologies have affected or changed human activity - to the point that it has changed the way children are learning and even the way parents are raising them.
The analytical tool showed human development had gone from early learning by experience and imitation from family and caregivers to the increased use of digital device-based learning; replacing interpersonal learning.
There was also less interactive and potentially less inter-human play.
2. Mental health:
A growing mental health burden in many countries has developed over the years and which has reached crisis proportions, according to the report.
The authors say the issue is particularly prevalent among young people.
"It may be due in part to significant demographic changes and the changing social context in which we live, where expectations may not meet reality; the pace of life has increased significantly.''
The report says many of those issues appeared to be directly or indirectly related to the impacts of digitalisation on people, the economy and society.
In addressing the impact of digital transformation on mental health, the authors highlighted policy gaps where measures could be introduced or improved - including youth mental health strategies that had a focus on online life, strategies that promoted emotional resilience and self-control or looking at gender and age-based policy interventions.
3. Social inclusion:
People's social activity has seen huge changes thanks to the digital age.
Social media has become a platform that has helped new groups and communities of interest come together and grow - a surely positive growth within society.
"But it has also enabled more polarised and entrenched views to take root and among the groups that form are anti-social ones that take advantage of the dark web to build new collectives based on violent, anti-social, morally objectionable or illegal behaviours.''
The authors said addressing the impact of digital transformation on social inclusion could be done by further research that included looking at the formation of internet-based and real-life social groupings.
4. Personal and public security:
Online abuse via internet sites and through social media are highlighted as some of the specific issues related to personal and public security - and how a person's wellbeing was affected as a result.
"Cyberbullying and misuse of social media increasingly can polarise and fragment societies and threaten our sense of wellbeing - especially if they spill over into real-world actions.''
Among the cases identified in the report were those of minors who had enlisted in risky behaviour thanks to an interaction they had online.
"Or someone who has been radicalised online and goes on to violently enact their beliefs,'' the report said.
"In these and other types of cases, the persuasive and self-reinforcing nature of online activity carries an increased potential for real-world consequences as the lines between our real and online lives increasingly blur.''
The impact of digital transformation on governance focuses on democratic processes - through public representation, electoral integrity and trusted public institutions; as well as looking at the fair and just delivery of government core services.
The report says national monitoring should include a registry of organisations that hold private data and establish broad and proactive data regulatory/ governance frameworks and ethical guidelines.