Dating services - one antidote to loneliness
Congratulations to The Economist for a thought-provoking piece on loneliness as a public health challenge.
Fifty years ago, less than 10% of households were solo or single adult households. In some cities, and Stockholm is flagged, the number can be as high as 60%. Social habits and norms have changed, we have an ability to end relationships in ways they did not decades ago - and we live longer!
In looking at the causes and effects of loneliness The Economist looked at research into digital services and whether they can mitigate or end loneliness, or whether some captivation with social media gets in the way of actually engaging with other human beings.
The article supports a “digital Goldilocks hypothesis”: that not too much and not too little online activity is best.
The report coincides with talks the ODA has had with UK Government departments on the social significance of dating services that now account for perhaps a third of all new relationships in the UK.
Government departments, with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in the lead, have consulted on plans for a Loneliness Strategy. We believe dating services are now recognised by Government staff as a valuable aid to reducing this problem. We believe they address people in all age groups, in all locations within a country, with those of different sexual orientations, faiths and interests. We will be arguing dating services use digital engagement to allow all people to seek out and make new contacts and explore new relationships and, critically, that they take that online contact into the physical world, enabling people to meet and get to know others in person.