Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/31231
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Research Reports
Title: Using technology to promote social connectedness: Insights from the T&Scon project
Author(s): McCabe, Louise
Dawson, Alison
Douglas, Elaine
Bowes, Alison
Wilson, Mike
Pemble, Cate
Citation: McCabe L, Dawson A, Douglas E, Bowes A, Wilson M & Pemble C (2020) Using technology to promote social connectedness: Insights from the T&Scon project. University of Stirling. Stirling. https://www.stir.ac.uk/research/public-policy-hub/policy-briefings/
Keywords: Social isolation
loneliness
technology
social connectedness, coronavirus, social distancing
digital
Issue Date: May-2020
Abstract: Loneliness and social isolation can affect anyone, with policymakers recognising the impact of isolation on individual wellbeing and public health. In 2018 the Scottish Government set out its approach to tackling social isolation in A Connected Scotland, a national strategy to achieve a Scotland “where individuals and communities are more connected, and everyone has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships regardless of age, stage, circumstances, or identity.” A priority of the strategy is to create opportunities for people to connect, with a specific commitment to work with older age groups to “understand how digital technology can add value to their lives in a way that is meaningful”, informing wider work to deliver the Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy for Scotland. The Technology and Social Connectedness (T&Scon) project explored the potential of technology to support social connectedness for adults living in Scotland, producing a toolkit to provide guidance for individuals and organisations on the use of digital technology in building and maintaining social connections. This briefing paper, drawing on the project’s key findings and recommendations, provides a summary of key information for policymakers and practitioners in Scotland, and further afield. Its findings will be of particular interest to those who are developing new ways of keeping in touch, as the risk of social isolation becomes more pronounced in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. Key findings  A wide range of UK and international technology-based and technology-enabled services exist, designed to support social connectedness, targeted at different adult age user groups. Most technologies used in this way are intended for people living at home although there are technologies in use and in development for the care home sector.  Data from the Healthy Ageing in Scotland (HAGIS) study revealed patterns of social connectedness among people over the age of 50 living across Scotland. Patterns of technology use across different groups suggest that those who are least socially connected may also be those least likely to utilise technology to connect with others.  Careful evaluation of the target user group is an important factor in the successful adoption of technology-based solutions, breaking down assumptions about who uses technology and who doesn’t, and understanding the risks and opportunities of using technology for this purpose.
Type: Research Report
URL: https://www.stir.ac.uk/research/public-policy-hub/policy-briefings/
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/31231
Rights: Proper attribution of authorship and correct citation details should be given
Affiliation: Dementia and Ageing
Faculty of Social Sciences
Economics
Dementia and Ageing
Dementia and Ageing
Licence URL(s): https://storre.stir.ac.uk/STORREEndUserLicence.pdf

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