It’s dark and cold outside. Christmas is over. And if you’re anything like me, New Year’s resolutions have already gone out the window. No wonder the third Monday of January is dubbed “Blue Monday” – the most depressing day of the year. And, this year, as we stay home to protect the NHS and save lives, we may all feel even more isolated or blue. But it is important to remember we are, in fact, more connected than ever. Technology has been an incredible force for good in our lives and allowed us to keep close to friends and family during the pandemic while helping keep the economy going. But it does not just facilitate everyday life; it enriches it. That is something we need to celebrate.
A positive difference
Tech firms are making a positive difference in so many parts of our lives. We can now order groceries or medical supplies “contact-free” through apps such as Echo, a free prescription tool that allows you to order repeat prescriptions to your door. It has been a lifesaver for people across the country during lockdown periods. Elsewhere, online events firm Hopin is helping to bring work colleagues together remotely with tools for virtual talks and networking. In contrast, Life Lines provides a secure virtual visiting solution for families whose loved ones are in intensive care.
Tackling loneliness during the pandemic remains at the forefront of the government’s mind.
We support charities and organizations to make sure no one feels isolated and have invested more than £30m into charities focused on reducing loneliness and a further £44m to organizations supporting people with their mental health.
These groups are adapting their incredible work quickly and tapping into tech’s capacity to bring people together.
People are inherently social, so we naturally crave this kind of social interaction. We see this from the record internet data usage on Boxing Day as many families came together to celebrate digitally.
And it is why the government has provided thousands of care homes across England with up to 11,000 iPads worth £7.5m and including data-enabled Sim cards and support for care staff. This means residents can stay in touch with their loved ones, and we can reduce the risk of infection from people going into homes while helping tackle loneliness.