WHO WE ARE

We are an international multidisciplinary consortium bringing together scientists from 14 countries and 22 institutions.
Our collaboration aims to initiate changes in current health and social policies, and practices designed to reduce the harmful effects of digitalisation on mental health, particularly amongst young people.

Therefore, we are initiating research in 9 countries involving thousands of youth representatives, and the results will be published for public consumption.

We call this project BootStRaP: Boosting Societal Adaptation and Mental Health in a Rapidly Digitalizing, Post-Pandemic Europe.

WHY BOOTSTRAP

We call this project BootStRaP: Boosting Societal Adaptation and Mental Health in a Rapidly Digitalizing, Post-Pandemic Europe.

Digitalization brings many benefits, including access to information, communication, leisure, and eHealth, but also new challenges and risks for individuals and civil society. For adolescents, as enthusiastic users of digital technologies, benefits include opportunities for mediating transitions from the family to a wider peer community. Challenges include problems balancing time spent online and offline, posing new risks.

We need:

Reliable research is needed to develop interventions and policies for protecting adolescents from the harms of PUI.

Advancing early detection and prevention of PUI via standardized research approaches and policy change.

Adolescents are at particularly high risk for digital technology overuse and are therefore vulnerable to its potential harmful effects on mental health. Problematic usage of the internet (PUI) is thought to represent a marker of disrupted self-management, with major consequences for individual and societal health and wellbeing.

That’s why it is very important to help young people develop healthy internet use before it causes harm, as well as support parents, caregivers, teachers, and medical professionals to understand the risks.

ABOUT BOOTSTRAP

Aim

BootStRaP brings together a multidisciplinary consortium aiming to initiate health and social policy and practice change designed to reduce the harmful effects of digitalization on mental health, particularly for young people.

Ambition

Our ambition is to mitigate the mental health burden of, and aid psychosocial adjustment to, the challenges of rapidly increasing digitalization among adolescents (aged 12–16) as we look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vision

The Bootstrap’s vision is that health and social policy and practice change should be geared towards 1) improving self-management of internet use and 2) investigating existing and developing new policy options to minimize digitalization-related harms, including greater corporate responsibility, re-evaluation of business models steering digital services provision, and potential for regulation. We deem it essential that the beneficial vs. harmful effects of digitalization on mental health and wellbeing among young people are strengthened and stigma and marginalization are reduced.

Impact

BootStRaP will provide unprecedented scientific knowledge on the psychological mechanisms underlying (risk for) PUI and potential interventions. Improved self-management and tools to optimize healthy internet usage will promote mental health prevent mental ill health in adolescents, and contribute to reducing stigma. In addition, our policy toolkit will empower policymakers and private companies to self-regulate with the intent to protect vulnerable groups. In the long run, Bootstrap will thus contribute to improving mental well-being across Europe and beyond.