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Digital Transformation of Me-Time

PhD Student: Liza Keessen

Digitization has transformed the daily lives of emerging adults (18-25-year-olds), who are some of the fastest adopters of digital technology. Yet, while these digital forces transform their daily lived experiences compared to generations before them, these emerging adults still need to achieve the same developmental milestones. Not only are they learning to belong – but they are learning to be alone. Indeed, both the need to belong and the need for solitude are considered crucial to one’s wellbeing. However, while existing research has focused extensively on digital technology and belongingness, there is a near omission of research on digital technology and solitude. This is quite surprising as solitude (colloquially “me-time”) is often a primary goal of digital technology. At the same time, it’s also fair to acknowledge that the very technologies that can promote belongingness might do the opposite for solitude: threatening the need to be alone and leading to what some call aloneliness (i.e., not being alone enough).

Research is needed to understand how to support optimum me-time for emerging adults in today’s hyperconnected environment. Project DIGI-ME is designed to address this objective through a multidisciplinary lens that combines communication science and psychology. Relying on a combination of survey, experience-sampling, and experimental designs, DIGI-ME asks: 1) how to define and measure the need for solitude in the digital age; (2) what are the drivers, experiences, and consequences of digital compared to non-digital me-time, and (3) how to optimize digital me-time for emerging adults.

L. (Liza) Keessen MSc

PhD Student

Dr. J. (Jessica) Piotrowski


Dr. S.R. (Sindy) Sumter


Dr. J.M.F. (Annemarie) van Oosten