Mindfulness is more than meditation — and there are many ways to get kids to enjoy the benefits.

Research on youth transitions, and the well-being of young people, has to take into consideration the digital context in which they are immersed. Digital interaction of young people increase year by year, social networking sites play a key role in their personal and professional relationships, and a very high percentage of jobs require digital skills.

According to Eurostat (2019), participating on social networking sites (one of the most common online activities in the EU-28), is growing every year [more than half (56%) of individuals aged 16–74 used the internet for social networking sites], and this percentage increases among the younger generations. In this article, we present the results of our research on the digital skills and well-being of young people on Facebook, based on a survey with a sample of 126 young people graduated from the University of Málaga (School of Social Work) (Spain).

Based on certain scales, the level of digital skills that students have on Facebook was measured, considering strategic aspects for information search, level of use and presence of Facebook in life, maintenance of relations and tolerance to diversity. Variables of psychosocial well-being were also measured (social capital, self-esteem, life satisfaction, and personal well-being). Variables of digital skills on Facebook were subsequently related to well-being variables. Results show that certain digital skills relate to the well-being of young people. In this sense, we deem it crucial to develop education policies that could provide young graduates with general digital skills to be used on social networking sites.

Having or not digital skills determines users’ access to resources, thus empowering those who have the appropriate skills to benefit from the potentialities of digital means and leaving behind those who do not know how to leverage such advantages (Van Dijk, 2006). Digital skills are considered as “the capacity to respond pragmatically and intuitively to challenges and opportunities in a manner that exploits de Internet’s potential” (DiMaggio et al., 2004, p. 378). It is also defined as the “user’s capacity to find content on the Internet in an effective and efficient manner” (Hargittai, 2005, p. 372).

Digital skills can be analyzed and conceptualized according to various levels. One of these levels looks at operational abilities (Steyaert, 2002). These abilities refer to knowledge, interaction and use of applications and devices. Van Dijk (2005) defines these abilities as those used to operate computers – currently also smartphones – and which relate to hardware and software networks. These digital skills refer to the ability to handle the profuse amount of resources at hand, which is also known as hypermedia (Lee et al., 2005). Digital skills are key to search, select, process and apply means to an environment which is overloaded with opinions (Van Dijk, 1999). Hargittai and Hsieh (2010) measured these skills through a scale that considers knowledge of the language and use of basic functions of the Internet (PDF, JPG, Favorites, Reload, etc.). In the online universe of Facebook, these functions are constituted by Facebook’s language and functions (Timeline, Pages, Groups, Lists, etc.).

At a secondary level, digital skills concerning information search are considered. These skills refer to actions taken by users to satisfy their information needs (Jenkins, 2006). Knowing how to look for information by using applications and services on the Internet implies a certain level of skills to filter information (Marchionini and White, 2007) and awareness about the fact that the digital fingerprint left by the use of browsers and applications leads to be suggested specific personal profiles, products or recommended advertisements.

Hargittai and Hsieh (2010) established a scale comprising two types of activities on Facebook, making a distinction between actions related to strong ties (seeing friends’ pictures, sharing photos, sending private messages, making plans, etc.) and actions related to weak ties (seeing pictures from unknown people, meeting new friends, sharing information on a group, etc.). In order to perform these actions to achieve a specific goal, strategic digital skills are required (Correa, 2016). Optimal socialization on digital means can be key for users to feel part of the same community, thus promoting various forms of mutual support and carry out projects and new initiatives (Ellison et al., 2007).