Loneliness in College Students

 

 

 

 

 

Through the years, technology has been growing rapidly and younger generations have the most experience with these new technologies. Most young adults spend the majority of their time using Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. The problem with these apps is that the people using them can become lonely or depressed. Studies have shown that social media and loneliness are directly correlated through phone usage.

According to Jean Twenge’s article, she says that this generation is becoming lonelier because they do not meet face to face as often as other generations did.  From certain studies, researchers have found that many teenagers would rather stay at home on their phones than go out with their friends. Teens who visit social-networking sites every day but see their friends in person less frequently are the most likely to agree with the statements “A lot of times I feel lonely,” “I often feel left out of things,” and “I often wish I had more good friends.” Social media sites have taken over some people’s lives because they want to stay updated on what their friends are doing.  For example, Snapchat allows you to stay in contact by sending pictures of yourself or messages to other people. Instead of going out, some people decide to stay home and just use Snapchat to contact the people they would go out with. Looking at the charts in the article, you can see that this generation has less motivation than past generations. This generation does not hang out with friends, which can cause less dating and less sex. Also, this generation does not feel the need to get their license right away. Surprisingly, people are becoming lonelier and are not getting enough sleep at night as well. There is a substantial body of evidence linking poor sleep to computer and internet use in general, with only a small number of recent studies examining social media use specifically. According to the #Sleepyteens article, “Increased Internet use is associated with shorter sleep duration, later bedtimes and rise times, and increased daytime tiredness in adolescents.” Some people do not get enough sleep at night because they are more focussed on social media and what others are posting.

Communication skills have also played a major role in people’s loneliness. Over the years, many people have seen a dramatic change in face to face communication with younger generations. According to Dr. Jeff Nalin, “Because teenagers often rely on social media to stay in touch, they don’t have many real interactions with others. This isolation can prevent them from learning the critical social skills that they will need in life.” While job applications today may be online, you still have to meet with a boss or representative of the company in person. Companies really focus on how you express yourself and  how well you communicate to them.

Most young adults who use social media want to fit into the crowd and be like everyone else. Teenagers have felt a need to fit in with their peer groups long before social media was even a thought, but technology increases the problem in a powerful way. Most people only want to highlight their best moments, like going to social events, attending concerts and reaching milestones. These are only some of the things that teenagers like to publish on their social media accounts. Even though everyone has problems, people don’t like to post the negative events of their lives online. When teenagers scroll through their newsfeed, it’s easy for them to think that all of their friends and classmates are perfect, making them feel left out. Suicide is now one of the major death causes in teens and part of it comes from depression and loneliness.

There’s no disputing that digital technology has thoroughly invaded our lives. A 2011 study conducted by tele-communications giant Ericsson found that 35% percent of iPhone and Android users check their email or Facebook account before getting out of bed in the morning. In addition, 40% use their phones in bed before they go to sleep at night. The average American is digitally connected between 2.5 and 3.5 hours a day. Nielsen reports that social networking, online games, and email are the biggest attractions.

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