Tackling loneliness: Vodafone explores if technology makes us more alone

Tackling loneliness: Vodafone explores if technology makes us more alone
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Do you think technology makes us more alone? Discover how multinational telecoms company, Vodafone, launched a new report into the role tech plays in tackling loneliness.

A new report commissioned by Vodafone UK uncovers how tackling loneliness can be achieved with digital technology among those over 50. The report was launched at the House of Commons with the support of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock MP and Loneliness Minister Mims Davies MP. The report demonstrates the concept of how ‘technology makes us more alone’ may actually be a myth.

Technology make us more alone = myth

The report essentially outlines how technology can play a vital role in alleviating loneliness in older people by keeping them connected to their family and friends for longer.

However, it also highlights that a significant number of older people are not confident in using technology, including accessing the internet. The report also looks for the first time at the financial implications of loneliness in the over 50s and reveals a £1.8 billion per year cost to the UK economy.

According to ONS data, a third of older adults (65+) identify themselves as only ‘little confident’ or ‘not at all confident’ in their ability to use electronic devices for essential online activities.

Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK said: “Our report shows how technology and innovation, such as smart devices, as well as teaching tech skills can play an important role in reducing loneliness and enabling people to live independently for longer.”

Vodafone’s response to tackling loneliness

Following these findings, Vodafone is launching a nationwide programme of tech masterclasses. Vodafone’s free ‘techconnect’ masterclasses will take place across the UK in 2019 following a successful pilot last month.

At the masterclasses, Vodafone tech team advisors will provide information and advice on everything from ‘how do I set up my phone’ to ‘how do I use social media’. They will also help set up wearable tech and connected home devices and explain how they work. These devices can help people live more independently for longer and reducing the chances of mental health.

Tackling loneliness can tackle mental health

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “Loneliness doesn’t just have an economic cost – it has a profound human cost too and can be hugely damaging to our health and happiness.

“So, it is important we do everything we can to reduce loneliness and isolation and provide help to those who need it.

Minister for Loneliness Mims Davies said: “Loneliness is one of the most pressing public health challenges we face, and technology has a huge role to play in bringing people together.

“Businesses, charities and government are working together to reduce loneliness and build more connected communities. Vodafone’s work highlights how digital tech can be a part of the solution.”

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