Technology and social connection programs
Technology provides many opportunities for new and creative initiatives that promote participation, social connection and community engagement.
80% of Australians have internet access (Macleay & Weidlich 2009)
90% of Australians use a mobile phone
Australia has one of the highest internet usage rates in the world, and a high (and increasing) rate of mobile phone use. However, many Australians face barriers in accessing these technologies, especially Indigenous Australians, low-income earners and people with lower levels of education.
VicHealth is committed to exploring the potential of technology to increase participation and create opportunities for social connection. Our strategic framework for 2009–13 identifies technology as a priority setting for health promotion activity.
Information and communication technologies, such as social media, can be used as a tool to increase participation on both local and global levels. These technologies give people greater opportunities to have their say and engage with community issues and activities.
VicHealth is researching the role of technology and new media in improving social connection. We aim to further develop the evidence base for the health benefits of using technology to increase social connection.
We are currently trialling new strategies for increasing social connection among under-represented groups in Victoria through technology and new media.
Technology, Arts and Social Connection (TASC) program
The Technology, Arts and Social Connection (TASC) program is currently supporting 14 arts projects that creatively use existing technologies to increase social connection in the community.
The program utilises information communication technologies to develop creative initiatives that promote participation, social connection and community engagement.
The projects are running for 12–18 months from July 2010.