Smartphones, MP3s and the internet certainly make life easier, but our yen for convenience has spawned a crop of new health conditions. Dr Evelyn Lewin investigates the causes and cures of social isolation



So you have 200 friends on Facebook and over 300 followers on Twitter. You must be pretty popular. But, despite having an avalanche of virtual friends, you may not feel so liked in the real world.

“It’s interesting because it’s one of those double edged swords,” says Dr Lukins. She says this is because a lot of social media only allows limited interaction and “In some ways it allows us to hide behind the technology. It doesn’t always allow for the richness of interaction that we as humans obviously need.

“That can contribute to perceptions of loneliness and isolation, that we don’t have that connectedness. Social support and our social networks are factors that contribute to positive health so when we limit those we obviously have that negative impact on our health.”

“It’s about balance,” says Lukins. She explains: “It’s about using social media in an appropriate way to have some contact with people but making sure we are also taking the time to speak to people on the phone and to meet up face to face… So it’s making sure that we appropriately balance our face-to-face and human interaction as well as the technological ones.”

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