Internet Use Lessens Extreme Social Isolation Risk During Covid

The risk of hikikomori, or extreme social isolation, during COVID-19 restrictions has been linked to use of the internet. A greater increase in internet use during the COVID-19 lockdown was associated with reduced risk of hikikomori, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Click here to read the article now.

Hikikomori is a state of marked social withdrawal in one’s home, with a continuous duration of at least 6 months, resulting in significant functional impairment or distress. COVID-19 restrictions could constitute the first phase of hikikomori for those susceptible to the condition.

Jeff Gavin and Mark Brosnan, from University of Bath, found that, “An increase in internet use during lockdown was associated with reduced risk of hikikomori.”

“Whether the benefits of using social media during COVID-19 lockdown to reduce hikikomori risk extend to a post-COVID society is a question for future research,” concluded the authors.

“Once considered unique to Japan, research now indicates that hikikomori is an international phenomenon in more collectivist as well as more individualist countries. This study, which included participants from 45 countries, highlights the positive impact social media use may have during isolation while also discovering an increased risk related to online gaming,” says Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium.

About the Journal

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly online with Open Access options and in print that explores the psychological and social issues surrounding the Internet and interactive technologies. Complete tables of contents and a sample issue may be viewed on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research. A complete list of the firm’s more than 100 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

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