"It's About Missing Much More Than the People": How Students use Digital Technologies to Alleviate Homesickness
AuthorKelly, R; Cheng, Y; McKay, D; Wadley, G; Buchanan, G
Source TitleProceedings of the 2021 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
University of Melbourne Author/sKelly, Ryan
AffiliationComputing and Information Systems
Document TypeConference Paper
CitationsKelly, R., Cheng, Y., McKay, D., Wadley, G. & Buchanan, G. (2021). "It's About Missing Much More Than the People": How Students use Digital Technologies to Alleviate Homesickness. Proceedings of the 2021 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445362.
Access StatusOpen Access
Homesickness, which refers to feelings of distress caused by separation from home, is prevalent among university-aged students. Chronic homesickness can exacerbate mood problems, erode academic performance and lead to dropout from school. The present research examines how students use digital technologies to resolve the experience of missing home. Qualitative interviews and diaries with 50 students at major Australian universities revealed that technologies play a significant role in alleviating homesickness. Specifically, students use technologies to acquire social contact, find help and support, build co-presence to recreate their home, connect with culture, experience distant places, and regulate emotions. However, the use of technology sometimes led to increased emotional labour, frequent exposure to homesickness triggers, and heightened perceptions of distance. We conclude by discussing possible design implications for new technologies that allow students to alleviate homesickness by experiencing their home from afar.
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