It’s not ‘social distancing’ it’s ‘physical distancing’

Two children looking at each other across a network of wires - Photo by Clarisse CrosetAt a time when isolation is a genuine concern, we must heed the revised advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and move from referring to ‘social distancing’ and instead use the term ‘physical distancing’.

It seems like semantics, but ‘social distancing’ is a phrase that triggers our minds to think of isolation, solitude, loneliness.

It suggests that this challenging period is one in which we are alone.

The truth is for many of us, this period of ‘physical distancing’ has made us re-valuate the importance of social closeness, and the seemingly trivial bonds we have with others have become conspicuous in their absence.

Staying connected through technology

However, we live in an age like no other. The technology we have at our fingertips plays a crucial role in enabling us to remain socially together despite the need to stay physically apart.

It wasn’t that long ago when communication, especially with grandparents and parents, was a phone call, a one-on-one conversation and an “I’ll go get your father” handover.

Now we have video conferencing with multiple participants, parents and grandparents who have tablets and smartphones to hand and are comfortable with using them.

We can set a laptop on a table and join our family for Sunday lunch without being in the room. We can meet our colleagues online for a coffee break and a chat, grin at the ping of the notification that someone is reaching out rather than roll our eyes at the interruption. 

We are not alone, the groups we belong to, our ‘tribes’, our families, have not disappeared, and although we may be physically apart, we’re still socially connected, we’ve merely migrated online.

AbilityNet: Helping you during the Coronavirus Pandemic

To ensure we stay connected in this time of crisis AbilityNet is:

  • Launching AbilityNet Live weekly webinars to help older and disabled people, and employers and employees remain connected 
  • Working in partnership with a range of organisations including Action for Carers, Age UKCare for the Carers, Citizens Online and Stroke Association 
  • Continuing to offer our FREE technology Helpline for older and disabled people at home who need support 0800 269 545
  • Providing remote support via our volunteers (call our Helpline for details)
  • Offer our FREE online resource My Computer My Way, a self-help guide to adapting technology for older and disabled people
  • Highlighting our FREE factsheets, these include everything from what devices can help to use the accessibility options in your operating system