The COVID-19 Pandemic - a pandemic of lockdown loneliness and the role of digital technology: A viewpoint

Syed Ghulam Sarwar Shah, David Nogueras, Hugo Cornelis van Woerden, Vasiliki Kiparoglou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The focus of this perspective is on lockdown loneliness, which we define as loneliness resulting because of social disconnection as a result of enforced social distancing and lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also explore the role of digital technology in tackling lockdown loneliness amid the pandemic. In this regard, we highlight a number of relevant issues in the light of latest published literature. We also discuss the key relevant issues: the description of lockdown loneliness, the burden of lockdown loneliness in the COVID-19 pandemic, characteristics of people who are more likely to be affected by the lockdown loneliness, factors that could increase the risk of loneliness, lockdown loneliness as an important public health issue, tackling loneliness during the pandemic, digital technology tools for social connection and networking during the pandemic, assessment of digital technology tools from the end users' perspectives, and access to and use of digital technology for tackling lockdown loneliness in the COVID-19 pandemic. We suggest that the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people who are more prone to lockdown loneliness are included in the fold of access to digital technology so that they can socially connect with their loved ones and important others; and thereby could avoid suffering from loneliness in the enforced social distancing and lockdowns in the COVID-19 crisis. Nonetheless, some key issues such as access to and costs and knowledge of digital technology tools must be considered. In addition, the involvement of all key stakeholders mainly family and friends, social care providers and clinicians and health allied professionals should be ensured.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume22
Issue number11
Early online date19 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2020

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