Youth Loneliness? It's Not The Smartphones ⋆

Youth Loneliness? It’s Not The Smartphones

For most of my life growing up, my mother and father believed that my love of technology was holding me back. That I “would find it hard to connect with others”. Well, that’s never really been the case. Now, I listen to my mother and father – having moved on from blaming technology for anything I would do wrong – say that technology is causing “young people” to be lonely.

It all came from a BBC survey which took in 55,000 people – and loneliness was the topic at hand. They found that despite young people being a major part of the social media boon, many people aged 16-24 felt not too far off the loneliness levels felt by 75 years old and above.

However, as my parents began to blame “selfie obsessions” and “wasting their time on stupid sex apps!” (haha), I thought about it a little clearer. I also looked at the results of the survey beyond the part I wanted to hear: the study found that many of those who felt lonely did not spend their time on smartphones too much in the first place.

So, before you go to blame the narcissist generation who are always on their phones, the results of this study say something else entirely. The study results helped to showcase the fact that, while we are always available with the internet and social media, being available does not equal being desired.

The age of instant gratification and momentary fame means that many people disregard the need to talk to those around us and just pay attention to the world we live in offline. This means that most of us never really look closer at ourselves within, don’t talk positively within our own minds and as a result never really feel comfortable being ourselves.

What Is To Blame, Then?

Lots of things – mental health for a living. Maybe the sky-high youth unemployment in most nations is part of the reason. It’s easy to feel lonely when you have nothing and thus feel like you have nothing to contribute.

The BBC Loneliness Experiment might go some way to making a change in this regard. From the winter weather bringing the blues with the cold alongside to people who have problems with dealing with changes in life, loneliness comes in many forms. Other people even find loneliness to be a positive experience.

Since loneliness comes in all manner of forms and is created for all manner of reasons, it’s important that we pay more attention to mindfulness in our day-to-day lives. While it’s easy to blame technology, the answers appear to come from elsewhere: if we want to help people get better and become less lonely, we need to listen.

Heard your parents reference the same BBC report to slander a generation? Encourage them to read the whole thing. They might be shocked at how few of their assumptions ring true.

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