The reduction to mobility and confinement of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s emotional well-being and mental health. According to a study published in the Journal of Public Economics, searches on Google during confinement, related to boredom, increased by 93% compared to the same period of 2019, in Europe. Those related to loneliness, 40% and about worry, 12%. In this situation, some technological devices could help to cope with the emotional burden of confinement.
This is the case with virtual reality or VR devices, according to research from the University of Portsmouth. According to their study published in Health and Technology, those who use their VR devices to pass time during the pandemic exercise more vigorously and feel better about life. With their research they found that people, in addition to playing games, have used these devices to exercise, meditate, socialize and watch movies during confinement.
While most people use their VR device for immersive gaming, the study found that they also use it almost as often for exercise. This in greater amounts and with more force compared to users of game consoles without virtual reality capabilities. Through a survey of 646 people in 47 countries during the period of the first confinement, they counted 98% of people using the devices to play games, 75% to exercise, 52% to socialize, 47% to watch movies and 37% to meditate.
Similarly, television experts see a technological tool capable of helping with emotional well-being during confinement. Some studies, including one from researchers at the University of Michigan, suggest that positive emotions can reverse the physical symptoms associated with negative emotions, such as stress or anxiety. For this reason, some experts recommend watching on television, or on streaming platforms, appropriate programs to increase positive emotions.
Despite the benefits of using these technological devices, others can cause negative mental health effects, such as smartphones. A study by the University of Seville detected a greater use of the smartphone among university students from the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing from 6 hours to 8 hours a day on average. This and other studies have found that regular use of these devices is related to poorer sleep quality, which can affect mental health.
Although there are many technological devices that cause a negative impact if not used properly, some of these have proven to be especially useful in a situation such as the pandemic. Computers, webcams, and smartphones help people stay home while working or attending classes, for example. On the other hand, VR devices or even television can play a beneficial role for mental health during confinement, an aspect of human health greatly affected by the pandemic.
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