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Ideas from local parents sought for loneliness research project

Technology solutions could be key to reducing isolation.

Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are appealing for participants to help identify how technology can be used to reduce loneliness in parents.

The academic team is calling for between 15 and18 local parents to attend a UCLan workshop on Thursday 23 June where they will participate in a variety of activities designed to reveal how they use their digital skills to connect with others.

Previous research reveals that technology offers great potential to help isolated parents make new friendships while providing access to healthcare support and acting as a vital line of contact with existing friends. 

Dr Rebecca Nowland, a Senior Research Fellow within UCLan’s Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nuture Unit, is one of the principal investigators. She said: “Loneliness in parenthood is a big problem; around a third of parents in the UK report feeling lonely often or always. We know that loneliness is linked to poor mental and physical health and in parents has an impact on their child’s well-being, social skills and behaviour.

“On the day of our workshop we’ll use creative activities such as brainstorming, poster creation and scenario drawing to help parents discuss and identify ways in which they currently use digital technology to connect with others and reduce loneliness and social isolation. We’ll also look at the aspects of digital technology that encourage and deter people from accessing it.”

The workshop will finish with a parental design session, facilitated by researchers, to suggest novel ways of using existing technology or to highlight design ideas for the implementation of new technology.

The findings will inform future cycles of research and co-designed workshops with parents. Each participant will receive a £25 voucher and a free lunch for taking part.

The workshop will take place between 10.00am and 2.00pm on Thursday, 23 June. To book a place, or for further information, please email:  jharris10@uclan.acuk

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