A large survey conducted by the BBC claims that people who report feeling the loneliest are not seniors as one would expect, but young adults between the ages of 16 and 24.
The survey was conducted by interviewing more than 55,000 people and reports that 40 percent of participants between the ages of 16 and 24 claim to feel very lonely. In addition, 27 percent of people over the age of 75 also reported similar feelings of loneliness.
— BBC Radio 4 (@BBCRadio4) October 1, 2018
According to psychologists and experts on the matter, loneliness has little to do with being alone and is associated more with a feeling of being left out. It has also been discovered that social media has an effect on people’s mental health, increasing feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Since younger generations are interacting with technology from a younger age, it makes sense that they’re affected the most by their screens.
Even though technology has an effect that can’t be disregarded, the BBC reports that older generations also felt particularly lonely when they were in their teens and early twenties. Mashable reports that young people feel loneliness more intensely because they are ill-equipped to manage these emotions, lacking the experience that lets them know that these feelings are temporary.
“Living much of your life on social media means that you can be extremely well connected, but still feel lonely, especially if you can’t relate to the apparently ‘perfect’ lives that other people are presenting,” says expert Matt Blow, making it clear that while social media is not the source of loneliness in youths, it certainly contributes to the problem.