The loneliness pandemic

Social media's adverse effects on teenagers' social lives

Anna Pipinos, Staff Writer

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Sitting in the car, you silently scroll through Instagram as your family sits beside you. At the dinner table, you watch Netflix instead of paying attention to your siblings’ stories from school. Texting a friend, you send “How’s life?” instead of asking to hang out. 

It’s 2019, and the world is enveloped by technology that is nearly impossible to avoid. And although technology gives us more ways to stay in touch with others, we’re ultimately faced with the fact that the quantity of “friends” we have on our media pages doesn’t compare with the quality of friendships.

Yes, social media may be amazing and may help us converse faster and with more ease, but conversing over social media is nothing like talking face to face. Instead of going to grab a cup of coffee or even going on a walk with a friend, we turn to Snapchat, Instagram, and texting to see how things are going with their lives. 

A recent study done by the University of Pennsylvania in 2018 consisted of 143 participants whose social media use was tracked thoroughly for four weeks. The findings revealed that decreasing any person’s usage of social media can lead to significant improvements in personal well-being. 

The first week consisted of the subject using technology like they normally would. The subsequent three weeks then limited the use of social media to a maximum of 30 minutes a day.

At the end of each week, a well-being survey was  completed. The results helped prove that people who limit their screen time have significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. 

Another survey done in 2011, reported that the people who feel the most secluded are young people aged 35 and under, the most prolific social networkers of all. Another experiment showed that 48% of people have only one person that they are capable of confiding in compared to 25 years ago when people said they had around three people they could talk to about their personal life. 

So, the brief talks that are taking place online deprive everybody of having those special moments where they truly have the opportunity to connect with a loved one. 

Technology also strips away enjoying a sunset, concerts, and the beauty of various places. Many people, myself included, are guilty of taking pictures and videos, worrying about the angles and the lighting, instead of savoring those little moments and taking everything in. 

Although these reasons may seem small, they cause us to lose precious moments with people we care about. 

The bottom line is that technology strips us of precious moments that we could be spending with others. Every day, we waste our time on social media and when we hit rock bottom, the consequences are significant. 

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