The rise of social and mobile media is often blamed for alienating American youth from the real world and making them lonely, but apparently, they couldn't be more wrong.
New research found that although they spend a lot of time in the virtual world, American teenagers today are much less lonelier than their former generation.
Published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the study was conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland and Griffith University. They analyzed data collected from a number of high school and college students and found out that the rate of loneliness reported by American youth over the years has gradually declined. Female pupils, in particular, feel much less lonely today than they did in the pre-Internet era.
This is, of course in direct contrast to the long held belief that the feeling of loneliness is widespread in the U.S. because of increased online interaction. The new research found out that while it's true that Generation Z has fewer real-life friends and doesn't prefer joining clubs for socializing, it doesn't mean that they are overcome with feelings of solitude.
“The trend in loneliness may be caused by modernization,” said David Clark, lead author of the study.
Clark and his team is of the opinion that “extraversion and self-esteem, have increased over time” and that explains this trend of reverse proportion in social interactions and empathy.
“[Throughout history] people become less dependent on their families and need more specialized skills, which could lead to less interest in social support and more self-sufficiency,” Clark added. “Over time, people are more individualistic, more extroverted, and have higher self-esteem.”