Neighbours turning to online chat

Neighbours Jo Pask and Sandra Reid share a joke over their backyard fence.
Neighbours Jo Pask and Sandra Reid share a joke over their backyard fence. Claudia Baxter

QUEENSLANDERS are too busy with Facebook to chat over the fence, according to a new survey, but Ipswich neighbours Sandra and Jo are showing your true friends could be living next door.

The NRMA Insurance survey has revealed nearly 50 per cent of Queensland residents are now interacting more online than with their neighbours.

Yamanto mother-of-four Sandra Reid said she had fostered a relationship with next-door neighbour Jo Pask since moving in five years ago.

Mrs Reid said being friendly with her neighbour made sense.

“She’s got two young boys and they all come over to play and we can help each other out when we can,” Mrs Reid said.

She lent Mrs Pask some chairs for a party at the weekend.

“I don’t think it pays at all to not be friendly with your neighbours.”

Mrs Reid said being friends with her neighbours also helped keep the street a safer place to live.

“You can just keep your eye out if you see something funny,” she said.

Her neighbour Mrs Pask said they weren’t “in each other’s pockets”, but it was handy to have a friend living next door, with the families sometimes helping with babysitting.

“We’re there for each other – you never know when you need a friend,” Mrs Pask said.

“And we just see each other and have a chat.”

Mrs Reid said she did not use Facebook because she didn’t want “to be on it all the time”.

NRMA Insurance spokeswoman Sue Hawkins said people should disconnect from their technology and plug into a conversation with the people next door.

“Too many people could be missing out on the benefits of knowing their neighbours, including a sense of community, having help at hand and boosting neighbourhood security,” Ms Hawkins said.

The research showed more than one in six residents don’t know any of their neighbours’ names, and one in two residents chat with their neighbours only once a month or less.

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