How can we develop tools for students on the field of learning skills to get more to the need of social interactions and making feelings of loneliness less?
September 2018 - Maart 2019
GRADUATION PROJECT WITH
Humanitas & Hanze Hogeschool
Ya Present! from BNO at the Dutch Design Week 2019
It might be obvious, but not for everyone. Not everybody has friends or the right one to come to their social needs. That’s why someone can be touched by this sentence. Often, we don’t dare to share these feelings of loneliness with each other, because it's a sensitive subject. That making it seems that we are the only one, but actually as much as one-third of young people feel regularly lonely.
"How might we get more to the need of social interactions and making feelings of loneliness less?"
By gaining more insight into how loneliness plays out among young people, I started interviewing and holding surveys among several young people about their experiences and feelings about loneliness. In this way, I have come to different perspectives.
Namely that young people are more in need of:
1. Meeting with friends
2. Mutual initiative
3. Meaningful and deeper conversations
And that it holds back by:
1. Negative thoughts and reflections
2. Knowing how to start a conversation
3. Knowing how to make and maintain friendships
"When I think of loneliness, I think about when I eat alone in the canteen and no one looks at me"
After the research phase, I started sketching different solutions for different problems. From the research I saw that this loneliness mainly came from these 5 points.
1. The urge to belong to others
2. Loneliness not being discussible
3. Lack of social skills
4. Limited social network
5. Negative thinking
To help around social contact I created an interactive conversation table that works as an icebreaker, conversation starter, and pop-up place. After many different application designs and testing, I started this, because out of talking to people I heard that they would be happy, if there was a place where they could get easier contact with new people. The table helps people to start more easily a conversation and make new contacts.
With the help of questions and activities on the screen after pushing the button. On the table, you can press two buttons controlled by an Arduino and the Max MSP Jitter. By pressing the buttons, you can choose the language and then whether you want a question or an activity. Through the exposition, a lot of new contacts were made and people laughed with each other. Also at a later stage, I created a website of the activities and questions on the table.
Also I want to make loneliness more open to discussion through sharing cards and inviting people to share their story around loneliness with each other. The cards consists of stories of other people's experiences around loneliness including myself, with the question “When do you feel lonely and what helps you with that?” With that I want to spread the message that together we can help each other around loneliness, by talking more openly about it and giving advice to each other.