Today’s behavioral psychologists have identified a central paradox of internet culture: the more we're connected by social media, the more we feel isolated.
Social connectivity is immediate and on-demand, but it’s not galvanizing our communities. We’re a step removed, our dopamine receptors thirsting for satisfaction from the glowing screens of our mobile devices while our interpersonal skills atrophy.
This is true even for the original online generation, Millennials, who came of age as the World Wide Web and mobile technology grew in influence. One recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that adults ages 19-32 who spent two or more hours every day on social media sites increased their feelings of loneliness two-fold.
It’s a growing societal problem. A 2018 survey by Cigna found that nearly half of adults interviewed (46%) suffered from feelings of loneliness. Experiencing frequent stretches of loneliness can lead to serious health consequences. One study asserted that chronic loneliness can have the same ill health effects as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.