Is Handwritten Journaling Still Beneficial in Our Digital World?


Anuj Yadav (BSc Psychology)

1/12/20243 min read

Is Handwritten Journaling Still Beneficial in Our Digital World?

Our lives are constantly immersed in a digital world, from smartphones to computers to video games. We are constantly consuming information at speeds no other generation has seen, and with this come potential negative impacts. So, what are these negatives of constantly being in a digital environment, and can spending a little more time physically writing down our thoughts in a paper journal help us in any way? Let's find out...

With the amount of typing we do in our digital world, handwriting has almost become redundant. This has led to many reports signifying ‘the death of handwriting’ (Kiefer & Velay, 2016). These researchers found that typing digitally doesn’t seem to have any consistent benefit over handwriting. However, it does impact the quality of the sensory-motor experience. On the other hand, other research finds that electronic media use was associated with psychological distress (Mathers et al., 2009), suggesting that spending more time on media can be detrimental to our psyche.

These findings are further supported by other research suggesting that time spent on digital devices can impact our health. Alheneidi (2019) differentiated between problematic and non-problematic internet users and explained that information overload and internet addiction have drastic impacts on a person's wellbeing. Looking all the way back to 1998, we see that Kraut et al. found that internet use reduced people's communication with those in their own households and increased their depression and loneliness. This is very interesting to note because this was long before the internet and social media became so accessible, and it suggests a trend that has been around for quite some time. Although it is generally universally acknowledged that media use can have negative impacts on us, it is nice to present some evidence to back up our claims.

Knowing that media use can be detrimental to us, let's move back to the idea of writing by hand in this digital world. Research also shows that students still find writing by hand to be a beneficial tool, especially when it comes to expressing private emotions and intimate feelings (Vincent, 2016). Furthermore, by using scripts other than handwriting, we alter our brains in deep and unknown ways, according to Karavanidou (2017). In children, it might even influence how they perceive written language and thus, their development. However, that is a different topic with much more to be discussed, so I will leave it at that.

Clearly, writing by hand in journals or elsewhere seems to have its benefits for us. Also, it appears that spending a little less time on our devices can be helpful for our wellbeing. Based on the evidence provided here, I think that writing in a journal can still be helpful to take some time away from our devices and practice a skill that has historically been pivotal for humans to grow and evolve. Therefore, writing in a paper journal in such a digitally dominated era seems like it’s still worth it, but that is a decision to make for yourself.


Alheneidi, H. (2019). The influence of information overload and problematic Internet use on adults' well-being (Doctoral dissertation, Cardiff University).

Karavanidou, E. (2017). Is handwriting relevant in the digital era? Antistasis, 7(1).

Kiefer, M., & Velay, J. L. (2016). Writing in the digital age. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 5(3), 77-81.

Kraut, R., Patterson, M., Lundmark, V., Kiesler, S., Mukophadhyay, T., & Scherlis, W. (1998). Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being? American Psychologist, 53(9), 1017–1031.

Mathers, M., Canterford, L., Olds, T., Hesketh, K., Ridley, K., & Wake, M. (2009). Electronic media use and adolescent health and well-being: cross-sectional community study. Academic pediatrics, 9(5), 307-314.

Vincent, J. (2016). Students’ use of paper and pen versus digital media in university environments for writing and reading–a cross-cultural exploration. Journal of Print Media and Media Technology Research, 5(2), 97-106.