NEW research shows everyday technology helps people feel less lonely
ORIGINALLY POSTED - HEALTH TECH DIGITAL
In their 80th year, a new report by the national charity WaveLength reveals that people felt less lonely after receiving a radio, television, or tablet.
Using survey data collected from over 180 people over 2 years, this research by the University of York shows that individuals rated their own health more positively after receiving and using their new technology. Study participants were on average 44 years old. Over 50% had been homeless and experienced poor mental health.
Accelerated by the often-negative and insensitive discussions surrounding technology and loneliness, this new report broadens understanding of this, as yet, little-researched area. The report, by Professor Martin Webber, Director of York’s International Centre for Mental Health Social Research, shows that technology can have a positive influence on the life of someone who is lonely. The benefits of everyday technology are heightened for people who are at the greatest risk of suffering from loneliness. This includes people who are in a bad financial situation and experiencing poor physical and mental health. The study also shows that loneliness did not vary by gender, region or age in the sample.
This research, funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Grant, builds on an earlier study of interviews with a cross-section of WaveLength’s beneficiaries. Having access to technology alleviated loneliness and other associated negative emotions, while also facilitating social connections. Technology provided practical benefits, such as links to new hobbies and employment opportunities.