Study links daily internet use to increased social isolation among elderly

Washington D.C. [USA]: Older adults who’re each day web customers usually tend to be socially remoted compared to those that went on-line sometimes, in accordance with new analysis.
Revealed within the journal Ageing and Society, the researchers examined knowledge from 4,492 adults in England, with a mean age of 64. Total, 19 per cent reported excessive ranges of loneliness, and 33 per cent have been categorised as socially remoted.

Led by lecturers from Anglia Ruskin College (ARU), the examine discovered that older adults who went on-line as soon as per week or as soon as a month have been much less more likely to be socially remoted than each day web customers.Social isolation is an goal measure of an individual’s social relationships, together with the scale and variety of their social community, and the frequency of contact.

The analysis, which befell earlier than COVID-19 social distancing measures have been launched, discovered no hyperlink between web use and loneliness.Trying to find data, sending emails, and purchasing have been the three commonest on-line actions, and over two-thirds of these within the examine (69 per cent ) reported utilizing the web day-after-day.

These logging on each day have been extra doubtless to make use of a smartphone, whereas laptops have been most well-liked by much less frequent customers.Lead writer Stephanie Stockwell, a PhD pupil on the Cambridge Centre for Sport and Train Sciences at Anglia Ruskin College (ARU), mentioned: “Our findings counsel that older adults who reported utilizing the web weekly or month-to-month might have a greater steadiness between their real-world and on-line contacts, and it’s doable that many on this class are just too busy to go surfing day-after-day.

“We were surprised that daily internet users recorded similar levels of social isolation as those who never use the internet. It might be that many of these people go online to combat their social isolation,” Stockwell mentioned.Alternatively, logging on extra often would possibly truly trigger better social isolation amongst some older adults as they cut back their bodily contacts,” Stockwell added.

Nevertheless, one of many optimistic findings from the examine in accordance with Senior writer Dr Lee Smith, Reader in Bodily Exercise and Public Well being at ARU, is the suggestion that “internet advertising and targeted emails could be used as an effective, low-cost way of delivering behaviour change interventions.”

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