SUSS conducts study on the use of digital technologies and its impact during COVID-19 pandemic

Singapore, July 20, 2020 – Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) is part of a consortium of international researchers embarking on a study to understand the social and individual conditions of people using digital technologies during COVID-19 pandemic.

The study will uncover how people use digital applications to sustain or create social connections, including how digital technologies could help reduce loneliness.

Titled “COVID-19: Technology, Use, Behaviour, Social Connections, Self-Isolation & Loneliness Study”, the research is led by UK-based researchers Dr Hannah R. Marston and Dr Sarah Earle from The Open University as the key research project of the Health and Wellbeing Strategic Research Area at The Open University.

Besides Singapore, the other countries collaborating in this study are Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey and UK.

“This is a first internationally collaborated research on the use of digital technologies and its impact during COVID-19 pandemic. The collated data will then help answer questions such as ‘Does going online help us feel connected and less isolated during COVID-19?’” said Dr Ko Pei-Chun, Lecturer, Centre for University Core, SUSS. Dr Ko leads the survey in Singapore.

The Singapore survey started in May and ends in August 2020. The findings are expected to be released globally in 2021.

It is broadly categorised into four areas:

  1. How technology is used
  2. The impact and user behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic relating to enhancing social connections and reducing loneliness
  3. The role technology plays within community
  4. How use of digital applications is related to education, social resources and family conditions

What prompted the research?

During these past few months of the circuit breaker in Singapore, many are required to work from home (WFH) and rely on virtual platforms to work and socialise. Students are also using home-based learning (HBL) digital tools and platforms.

According to Statista, in UK, 33% of those surveyed said the lockdown makes them feel lonelier. In Australia, 29% experienced increased sense of loneliness.

There is also currently no official research study estimating the extend of loneliness due to its emerging situation.

Although researchers from the UK have suggested digital technology and social media platforms may alleviate this sense of loneliness (Marston & Morgan, 20201), there is no formal research on the subject in Singapore. 

“In Singapore, we observe an increasing level of concern over HBL and WFH, and their impact on mental well-being, stress and burnout. The reliance on digital technologies for work and daily life will continue to stay as the new normal. To gain greater understanding of the mental resilience now and for the future of well-being in a tech-saturated world, this study during the COVID-19 period is needed in Singapore,” said Dr Ko.

The survey is open to all residents in Singapore, aged 18 years old and above. For more information or participate in this survey (access via the Singapore flag), please visit: https://bit.ly/covid19sgsurvey.

– END –

1Marston, H.R., & Morgan, D.J. (2020) Technology & Social Media during COVID-19 Pandemic. Special Issue: COVID-19 & Geriatric Mental Health Worldwide. IPA Bulletin; 3(2). https://www.ipa-online.org/publications/ipa-bulletin/featured-articles/covid-19-bulletin-articles/technology-social-media-during-covid19

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About the Singapore University of Social Sciences
SUSS is a university with a rich heritage in providing lifelong, learner-centric and industry-relevant education. Our mission is to champion lifelong education to develop future thinkers and leaders to their fullest potential through our 3H’s education philosophy – ‘Head’ for professional competency with applied knowledge, ‘Heart’ for social awareness of the needs of the society, and ‘Habit’ for passion towards lifelong learning.

We offer more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programmes, available in full- and part-time study modes which are flexible, modular and multi-faceted in learning experience to cater to both fresh school leavers and adult learners. We also launched a broad range of continuing education and training modular courses for the professional skills and knowledge upgrading of our workforce.

Our programmes and courses are made available through our five schools:

  • S R Nathan School of Human Development
  • School of Business
  • School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences
  • School of Law
  • School of Science and Technology

To date, over 35,000 graduates have chosen SUSS as their university of choice. Each year, about 15,000 students are pursuing their full- and part-time studies with us.

From 1 April 2019, the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) became an autonomous institute of SUSS. Both entities enable a synergistic collaboration as IAL brings to SUSS its expertise and experience in adult learning and Continuing Education and Training (CET), while SUSS provides an ecosystem of resources and experts rooted in academic rigour.

For more information on SUSS, please visit www.suss.edu.sg.

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