Call for Papers

Communication Technology and Well-Being

There are always concerns for people’s well-being in the current digital age. We are not unfamiliar with the worries that the usage of digital media may increase people’s stress, cause more depression, reduce life satisfaction, or elicit even more serious health problems. Therefore, technology giants, like Google, have emphasized their missions to improve users’ well-being, such as helping people form healthy habits of media use, stay away from distraction, and build balanced relationships with digital devices (see https://wellbeing.google/). However, not everyone agrees with the notion that people’s well-being in the digital age is in danger. A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center among more than 1,000 digital media experts discovered that almost half of the respondents believed in the beneficial impact of digital media on people’s well-being (Anderson & Rainie, 2018). For example, some people argue that the increased connectiveness through social media may benefit people’s mental health. Such inconsistency could also be found in the existing scholarship of well-being and digital media. While some research has reported direct and indirect effects of using digital media on various symptoms of ill-being (e.g., Primack et al., 2017; Vannucci, Flannery, & Ohannessian, 2017), other scholars have argued that using digital media does not necessarily hurt (e.g., Hall, Kearney, & Xing, 2018) or even benefits people’s well-being (e.g., Chou & Edge, 2012). 

            Well-being is a complicated psychological construct. It contains multiple dimensions—from people’s temporary emotional feelings to their overall satisfaction of life (Chan, 2013; Goswami, 2012). It is not our intention to affirm whether using digital media improves or inhibits people’s well-being, as there is no consensus and there will probably not be one. We attempt to carry on the conversation of well-being in the digital age from a different perspective—to understand the role of communication technology. We believe communication technology is a double-edged sword for well-being. Instead of debating whether using digital media is good or bad, a more meaningful way is to investigate how the various aspects of communication technology influence the well-being of different groups of users under distinct circumstances. It is possible that a certain group of users may exhibit improved well-being with a certain aspect of communication technology under a certain circumstance, but they may exhibit a completely opposite symptom of well-being when the technology factor or contextual factor changes. 

            The purpose of this special issue is to provide a forum where the role of communication technology in influencing digital users’ well-being could be deeply discussed. Empirical papers, qualitative research, and literature reviews are all welcome as long as the impact of a certain aspect of communication technology on people’s well-being is highlighted. By identifying the relevant boundary conditions and underlying mechanisms, this special issue aims to forward theory building and development in the field of technology psychology. The ultimate goal of this special issue is to provide some useful guidance for digital practitioners to better protect users and promote their well-being. 

            JoCTEC is the official journal of the Communication Technology Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. This journal aims to bring together research that facilitates discussion and cultivates understanding of the ways in which communication technologies are changing not only media processes and content, but also audiences, institutions, and society at large.

Topics

Potential paper topics include (but are not limited to):

●      The impact of using digital media on people’s emotions or moods.

●      How does media multitasking influence people’s well-being?

●      The role of technological features of digital media, such as interactivity and customization, in affecting people’s well-being.

●      Users’ well-being in social media platforms, like FacebookInstagram, and Snapchat

●      Users’ well-being in emerging media platforms, like social live streaming (e.g., Twitch and Bilibili).

●      Online gamers’ well-being.

●      Information clutter/overload and well-being.

●      How does digital advertising affect consumers’ well-being?

●      How does “fake news” affect the public’s well-being?

●      Children’s well-being in the digital age.

Guideline for Paper Submission

Submissions should follow the manuscript guidelines for JoCTEC. 

●      Prepare the manuscript using APA (6th ed) citation style, with text of no more than 9,000 words (inclusive of abstract, figures/tables, and references).

●      Submit the manuscript in Word format with all author-identifying information omitted to allow blinded peer review.

●      Confirm manuscript is not before another journal for consideration, and that the manuscript has not been previously published, including in a language other than English.

The submission deadline is Sept 1, 2020. 

References

Andreson J., & Rainie, L. (2018). The future of well-being in a tech-saturated world. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewinternet.org/2018/04/17/the-future-of-well-being-in-a-tech-saturated-world/

Chan, M. (2015). Mobile phones and the good life: Examining the relationships among mobile use, social capital and subjective well-being. New Media & Society, 17(1), 96-113. 

Chou, H. T. G., & Edge, N. (2012). “They are happier and having better lives than I am”: the impact of using Facebook on perceptions of others’ lives. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(2), 117-121.

Goswami, H. (2012). Social relationships and children’s subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 107(3), 575-588.

Hall, J. A., Kearney, M. W., & Xing, C. (2018). Two tests of social displacement through social media use. Information, Communication & Society, 1-18.

Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: a nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1–9.

Valkenburg, P. M., Peter, J., & Schouten, A. P. (2006). Friend networking sites and their relationship to adolescents’ well-being and social self-esteem. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 9(5), 584-590.