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Adapting to the digital age: Coping with psychosocial challenges in a post-COVID Poland

Presented by Katarzyna Goncikowska, Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland (katarzyna.goncikowska@gmail.com) & Joanna Witowska, The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw, Poland (jwitowska@aps.edu.pl)


We're thrilled to share key insights from our presentation at the PSPS conference, where we shed light on the transformative impact of digitalization on psychosocial functioning post-COVID in Poland.


Zooming in on the Polish segment, our speakers dive deep into the nuances of how the local population has adapted to the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital revolution.

 

In the wake of a technological boom spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, the relentless evolution of technology has not only changed the way we work and interact but has also redefined the very fabric of our social and psychological connections. This period marked a pivotal moment in human history, as technology became a transformative and accentuating element in the face of unprecedented advancements. We interviewed 50 members of the general public in Poland exploring lived experience of the psychosocial challenges and opportunities linked to digital technology use during and after the pandemic. The study delves into the nuances of this transformation, shedding light on the complex dynamics of human-technology relations, especially within the realm of psychosocial functioning. The changes witnessed extend beyond work and education, significantly impacting relationships, well-being, and broader societal and psychological functioning.



Here's a summary of the impact of the pandemic and the technological boom, based on our qualitative analysis using NVivo:


Technological Boom

The relentless evolution of technology, intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, has profoundly impacted how we work, interact, and redefine social and psychological connections. Our study explores the transformative role of technology, marking a pivotal moment in human history.


Work & Education

The pandemic triggered a surge in remote work and online education, reshaping traditional work dynamics. Online interactions, primarily conducted through platforms like Zoom and Teams, brought efficiency but introduced a sense of anonymity. Participants recognized the need to adapt to new communication norms, emphasizing the positive aspects of increased digital communication, such as the convenience of quick exchanges on platforms like Teams.


Health & Psychological Well-being

The pandemic influenced the psychological well-being of individuals, with the digital realm providing both support and challenges. Online content, including instructional materials and videos, became coping mechanisms for emotional difficulties. The increased consumption of shorter online content raised concerns about attention span and concentration.


Social Relations

The shift to online interactions during the pandemic transformed social relations, introducing a sense of anonymity and limiting the depth of connections. Remote work led to virtual-only business meetings, reducing opportunities for personal relationships. The study highlights the impact of digitalization on interpersonal dynamics, emphasizing the need for balancing online and offline experiences.


Conclusions

  • The pandemic accelerated reliance on digital technologies, impacting various aspects of life.

  • Remote work altered family dynamics and individual roles within shared spaces like homes.

  • Isolation affected the desire for in-person contact, leading to a decrease in the need for social interaction after transitioning to remote work.

  • Constant connectivity posed difficulties in disengaging from work, blurring professional and personal life boundaries.

  • Society is increasingly conscious of the adverse effects of excessive technology use, leading to efforts in establishing boundaries and prioritizing offline experiences.


Our ongoing project continues to explore these dynamics. Stay tuned for more updates on the profound impact of digital technology on our lives.





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