Contributing to Our Quarantine Loneliness? Tech and Social Media, Here’s How:

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Quarantine Lonliness

Missing getting together in groups of more than a few people? Tired of game night consisting only of the faces you’ve seen day in and day out for months? We are too. So, where do we go for social activity when some are still scared to enjoy a meal away from home? Why, online of course!

Why Online Community Only Exacerbates the Quarantine Loneliness

But do we feel satisfied once we’ve received 200 Birthday wishes, or placed a ‘thumbs up’ on every post we could find that week? No.

Are we surprised that loneliness doesn’t dissipate after hours of online social interaction? No, we’re not. We do however realize the irony of being so connected to the world, but feeling so… unconnected. Why is that?

According to Dr. Elias Aboujaoude of Stanford University, the time we spend invested on our online lives and friends is at the expense of “more rooted, genuinely supportive and truly close relationships.” While loneliness has existed far outside of, and long before the realm of social media, it’s now impacting people on scales that close resemble an epidemic.

Experts undeniably agree that technology is shaping our loneliness, it creates the illusion of connectedness while lowering our tolerance for solitude and raising our expectations about the frequency of our connections.

There are benefits to loneliness and boredom that can lead to self-awareness, creativity, and appreciation for deep relationships. Only these are not achieved when technology so close at hand is reminding us incessantly of our to-do-lists, sales, and friend requests.

On the other hand, Dr. Aboujaoude cautions us, “loneliness and a dangerous world like the one we’re in add up to a challenging combination. They produce a sense of vulnerability and can make people feel they lack a safety net or lifeline. If not recognized and addressed, they can also contribute to depression.” Leading even to heart disease, diabetes, dementia and a weakened immune system.

Cigna conducted research in 2018 that evaluated 20,000 subjects 18 years or older, using a 20-item questionnaire “developed to assess subjective feelings of loneliness and social isolation.”  While it’s impossible to tell how large a role social media played, half of the participants reported sometimes or always feeling alone or left out.

Being inherently social creatures, it’s no surprise that the instant connection promoted by technology is so alluring. Beginning when radio was first developed, an intolerance of aloneness was bred into society. We’re being sold cures for loneliness, and we’re not even fully aware of the fact.

Devices are designed to be addictive, but as much as we blame technology, we must also place blame on ourselves. It is us who refuse to put down the smart phone, limit our time on social media, and sit in front of Netflix for hours on end. 

How to Get Rid of the Quarantine Loneliness?

We must challenge ourselves to engage in frequent, meaningful interactions. Cigna found those that did had far lower loneliness scores, and better health over-all. Author Dan Schawbel says, “what we’ve learned from coronavirus is the more we use technology, the more we actually want to be in person connecting to other people.”

If you’re looking for managed IT or cybersecurity services for the technology you can’t live without, contact EnhancedTECH at 714-970-9330 or [email protected].

-Emmy Seigler Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/tech-and-social-media-are-making-us-feel-lonelier-than-ever/ar-BB15Eni1

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/Pv5WeEyxMWU

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