You must be thinking what’s the relation between loneliness and social media? Well, there is!
Let me bring in my cousin to explain.
18-year old Jay used to spend most of his free time on social media. It’s not like he didn’t have friends; he had friends who would come every evening to ask him whether he wanted to join them. But he loved reading memes, quotes and videos more than hanging out with his friends. As you can predict, his friends gradually stopped coming and Jay hardly noticed and cared. After a while, he had no one to talk to, no one to roam with and no one to confide secrets in. He was ALONE!
You must have noticed that there are many Jays around us? But why they are knowingly/unknowingly pushing themselves to the point of loneliness?
Humans are social creatures. We often feel the need to talk to someone and know what’s happening in the lives of the people that matter to us the most. And what’s the better way of knowing this than reading updates on our timelines? Social media brings us real-time updates not just from their lives but also from the lives of people that they are connected to. And when we can get so much of information, complemented by glitzy chats and interesting games, it becomes hard to leave the computer screen/phone alone.
That’s the reason we have so many ‘Jays’ around us. The alarming part is most of them don’t know that they are alone or are going to be.
The other factor that is contributing to the rise of ‘Jays’ is: In real life, we often face criticism for our appearance and habits. This criticism is negligible on social media and when we get likes and comments, it satisfies our urge of being accepted.
Dr. Pamela Rutledge says “Social validation is important; a Facebook like is a social signal. It affirms our existence the same way that someone nodding at you on the sidewalk does. But we’re also just learning to use social tools, experimenting to find out what it all means.”
The bottom line is the current social media channels are addictive, which is paving the path to loneliness. We, particularly young adults think that it is okay this way but for how long? At every stage, we need a companion to help us take the right decisions. The virtual world can’t be that companion for it does not understand you and your requirements at different stages.
And what about the generation that is growing up? The generation that has observed adults sitting in front of computer screen for hours, and thinks it is completely okay to indulge in social media, even if you are losing the importance of face-to-face interactions. I bet that they think it is okay. This makes the future a bit scary for them. Loneliness may arrive early for them and it might take them years to understand that what they thought was okay was NOT OKAY.