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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Daily internet use indicates increased social isolation among older adults: Study

Social isolation is a measure of a person's social relationship, including size and diversity of their social network, and the frequency of contact.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
May 21, 2020 8:50:49 pm
social isolation, internet use Older adults who are daily internet users could be socially isolated. (Source: Getty Images)

A new study concluded that elderly people, who are daily internet users, are more likely to be socially isolated.

For the study published in the journal Ageing and Society, researchers examined 4,492 people in England, with an average age of 64. While 19 per cent reported high levels of loneliness, about 33 per cent were classified as socially isolated.

Social isolation is a measure of a person’s social relationship, including size and diversity of their social network, and the frequency of contact.

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The study was conducted by academics from Anglia Ruskin University. Older adults who went online once a week or once a month were less likely to be socially isolated as compared to daily internet users.

Among the online activities, searching for information, sending emails and shopping were found to be the three most common online activities mostly on a smartphone as laptops were found to be less frequently used.

Lead author Stephanie Stockwell said in a statement, “Our findings suggest that older adults who reported using the internet weekly or monthly may have a better balance between their real-world and online contacts, and it”s possible that many in this category are simply too busy to go online every day.”

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“Alternatively, going online more frequently might actually cause greater social isolation among some older adults as they reduce their physical contacts. Older adults with access to the internet are likely to be using it much more often at the moment due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, but our findings indicate this is unlikely to improve levels of social isolation,” the author added.

(With inputs from ANI)

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