In today’s world, we’ve never had so many ways to engage with each other, build relationships, make connections, and keep in touch; yet, post-pandemic, levels of loneliness are now higher than ever, with 3.3 million people classed as chronically lonely in the UK between 2021 and 2022. Rather than enabling the interconnected global village, some aspects of the internet, social platforms, and smartphones are encouraging unhealthy behaviours at the heart of the human condition. Instead of open and authentic sharing, we’re offered what’s called curated reality where, for instance, people post pictures of lavish meals in fancy restaurants, to boost their self-worth by appearing better than others. This is the same type of behaviour that, to be honest, most of us have some experience of. For example, feeling diminished by another’s success.
Although loneliness affects the older generation, there’s also a significant increase among younger adults. Around a million young adults in the UK are chronically lonely. Recent studies show that the more time young people spend on social media, the more they feel socially isolated and alone, which is no surprise given the distorted and emotionally troubling, curated reality they’re consuming.