The Forum will initiate discussions and joint projects
researchers, scientists and scholars from various disciplines
Developers and designers of digital technologies and media
Developers and decision makers in programmes for overcoming the digital divide
educators—formal and informal, including developers of programmes for digital skills
The Forum will develop a dynamic humanistic model for well-being based on state-of-the-art research in relevant disciplines. This model will serve as our "moral compass". In parallel, the forum will map and integrate the outcomes of existing studies in many disciplines on many different aspects of digital media and their impacts on different audiences.
Guided by the model and the mapping, the Forum will identify, and when necessary develop, best practices and operational guidelines to promote and enhance well-being in the design, research and development of new digital technologies (see the right box on this page) as well as in the usage modes of prevailing ones and in various educational frameworks, formal and non-formal.
The Forum will operate as an NGO under the auspices of UNESCO and its Information for All Programme (IFAP). The activities of the Forum will be carried out by its working groups:
Research groups: will form and update the well-being model, as well as map and analyze the relevant research.
Practical groups: will suggest practical and operational scenarios for improving the prevailing applications or platforms or the designing of new ones in light of well-being oriented considerations.
Ad-hoc groups: to be determined once an opportunity arises.
Policy group: will suggest future policies to enhance the chances that well being is taken into account in the designing and usage of digital media.
To Give a Preliminary Example …
Social networks are blamed for encouraging “cyber-bullying” among children and young adults. Bullying surely impairs empathy and is an attack on a child’s well being. In rare cases might lead to suicides. Psychological research has found that in face-to-face interaction, the level of bullying is dramatically decreased thanks to the immediate feedback (e.g. the depressed face of the bullied child).
We believe a majority of bullying can be avoided if social networks provide the harassing kid with social cues. For example, each message can be marked, similarly to the mechanism that checks the passwords we chose: green if it enhances empathy; red if it is harassing or oppressive. Other features can be added in order to trigger more empathy and acceptance of the other.