The majority of us would likely say that we use technology quite a bit. Whether for work, school, catching up on the news, meeting new people, or connecting with old friends, it’s tough to get away from it. It isn’t uncommon for people to say that they feel as though they are “almost always” online. With that in mind, there’s an ongoing debate on technology and loneliness. Mainly, we ask this question: Does technology make a person feel more or less lonely? Does it help, or does it hurt? What does that mean for you? Today, we will go over what the research says and help you find a balance if needed.
Does Technology Positively Or Negatively Affect Loneliness?
Does technology make a person more or less lonely?
The research shows that it depends. One study found that technology usage, particularly the use of e-mail, online video or phone calls, social networking sites, using a smartphone, and online chatting or instant messaging, reduces feelings of loneliness in older adults. Research also shows that internet usage promotes more diverse social networks and, although one may assume the opposite, does not pull people away from in-person spaces. It’s been incredibly helpful during the coronavirus pandemic.
On the other hand, some social media platforms are tied to negative mental health impacts, like those related to body image. Some research says that those who are prone to social anxiety disorder symptoms or isolation are more likely to use the internet excessively and experience feelings of loneliness, but what could be going on there is that individuals turn to the internet to soothe said feelings of loneliness – not that the social media usage itself makes a person feel lonely.
What can we take from this? When it comes to whether technology is supporting your social, emotional, and psychological health or not, it depends partially on how you use it, as well as what else you may have going on in your life. Additionally, it’s very important to reach out for mental health support when you need it.
Employing Healthy Technology Usage
What makes a particular amount of technology usage healthy? Look at your mental health and other areas of life that it might affect. If it is taking away from in-person connection – maybe, your attention is on your phone when you are around a friend group or group of classmates that you could be or want to be conversing with – it might be time to set the phone aside until later on. Notice how specific social media platforms make you feel, and try to use social media in a way that fosters connection rather than taking it away or using it to compare yourself to others. Limiting social media usage is connected to better mental health, but that by no means means that you must eliminate it entirely. Even just for eye health, setting a limit or knowing when to put technology down for a bit – perhaps, after a long day of working or attending educational courses and meetings via the computer or phone – can be a positive practice.
Ask For Help
Define what healthy technology usage looks like for you. If you have trouble finding a balance, feel that social media impacts you negatively in another way, or if there’s an underlying concern at play that could impact feelings of loneliness, such as symptoms of social anxiety disorder or depression, you may consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor for help. They can help you find ways to connect with others and establish a healthy relationship with technology. If you want to learn more about loneliness online for free, you can find medically-reviewed advice articles on the BetterHelp website.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.