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The Missing Link: Why Disabled People Can't Afford To #DeleteFacebook

Friday 6 April 2018


From UK newspaper The Guardian:


Illustration by Edith Carron
‘When it comes to my mental health,
social media has been invaluable.’
(Illustration: Edith Carron)

The missing link: why disabled people can’t afford to #DeleteFacebook

Revelations about internet companies being negligent with our data have prompted a backlash against social media, but for many people in marginalised groups these networks are a vital lifeline.

By Frances Ryan
Wed 4 Apr 2018
© 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

It’s 10.32 on a Friday night and I am staring at the glow of my iPhone screen. It is almost three hours since I checked in to social media. It is also more than two months since I left the house. After falling ill with flu complications in January, I have been at home recovering, too ill to go outside or even to have visitors. Everyday social interactions – going to the pub with friends or chatting in the office – have become phantoms, replaced by four walls and my (disappointingly dull) inner monologue.


For many, particularly people from marginalised groups, social media is a lifeline – a bridge to a new community, a route to employment, a way to tackle isolation.

“Without social media, life would be so much harder,” says Philip Green, 56, from London. Green has arthritis in his spine, as well as mental health problems, and lives with severe pain that means going out to socialise is often impossible.

“I’m relatively lucky to have some really good close friends, but my most frequent communication with them is via Facebook or WhatsApp,” he says. Because he lives on disability benefits, he can rarely afford a trip to the cinema or lunch with friends. “On top of this, if I get a flare-up of pain, all plans have to be cancelled.” This sort of isolation is a common experience: recent research showed that almost half of disabled people in Britain are “always or often” lonely.


Full article…



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