Brits 'engage more with social media than their own neighbours', claims study

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Britons’ sense of belonging in their communities is falling with people more likely to interact on social media than with their neighbours.

People living in the UK are more likely to engage with social media than with their neighbours, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by the Office for National Statistics, showed how Britons’ sense of belonging in their communities was falling.

According to the report, positive engagement with our neighbours, such as exchanging favours or communicating, fell by 3% and 4% respectively between 2011 to 2012 and 2017 to 2018.

The findings, published on Thursday, showed how British citizens felt a sense of belonging in their communities had declined in recent years.

Telecommunication network above city, wireless mobile internet technology for smart grid or 5G LTE data connection, concept about IoT, global business, fintech, blockchain

In 2017-18, 62% agreed or strongly agreed they belonged to their local area, compared with 69% in 2014-15.

Compared with 2011-12, people were less likely to assist others by providing help to sick, elderly or disabled people or through parental links after children have left home.

The report also stated how Britons were more likely to say they had at least one close friend and had used the internet for social networking within the last three months.

Read more from Yahoo News UK:
Tory pledge of 50,000 more nurses hits more bumps in the road
Dog given PSDA commendation for boosting morale of WWII soldiers
Two men stabbed in suspected robbery at cannabis factory

In 2017, a separate study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine analysed the effects of social media on young people.

The study found those who spent long periods on social media were twice as likely to experience social isolation, including a lack of social belonging and the displacement of face-to-face interactions.

Eleanor Rees, Head of Social Well-being Analysis team at ONS, said: "Our social capital findings show that we are engaging less with our neighbours but more with social media.

Shot of a young man using a digital tablet while relaxing at home

“We also note that we feel safer walking alone after dark in our neighbourhoods, but more recently fewer of us feel like we belong to them."

Speaking of the findings, Sunder Katwala, director of think-tank British Future, told The Guardian: “These new findings underline something that many people have felt for some time – that we have become less connected with our fellow citizens.

“Our society is more divided than any of us would like.”

Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK