The Loneliness Epidemic

In the midst of social media and the ability to access anyone at anytime, Generation Z faces a loneliness crisis. A recent study shows that half of all Americans feel lonely, with those born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s suffering from the highest levels of isolation. How can this be possible when there are more ways to connect with each other than ever before?

Despite its ability to connect people, social media can cause someone to isolate him or herself because it’s easier to message friends online than to spend quality time with them. We communicate constantly with one another, but we don’t take the time to form strong connections. Superficial relationships, no matter how many you have, will never make you feel known and understood. Lonely people are not the friendless introverts we picture in our heads; lonely people are those who long for the meaningful relationships they lack. Someone with thousands of Instagram followers can still feel lonely. In this day and age, young people surround themselves with friends and stay busy, but they don’t get to know each other on a deeper level. Social media doesn't cause loneliness, but we do use it as an excuse to claim we aren't lonely when we really are. This mindset, combined with the belief that everyone is busy all the time, prevents us from admitting to our friends that we want to spend more time with them. 

Instagram is particularly damaging because everyone posts filtered, fun photos and edits out the mundane aspects of their lives. It’s easy to feel down on yourself for staying in on a Friday night when you see pictures of all your friends out partying. Social media gives the illusion that you are alone in feeling lonely, but the stats don’t lie. Half of the people who post photos with their friends all the time are lonely, but they would never post a photo of them sitting at home alone. We need to stop comparing ourselves to the fake version of our friends we see on social media, and simply ask them to spend time with us. Chances are, they have been wanting to fight their loneliness and build on their relationships as well.

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