A disturbing paradox: everyone is connected to everyone else, yet it makes people — especially children — feel more lonely.
How can this be possible? A new study published by a child support group in the UK outlines the problem:
Children are struggling with low self-esteem, loneliness or deep levels of unhappiness as a result of using the Web, a new study published by a child support group in the UK suggests.
ChildLine, a free, private counseling hotline for children and teens up to the age of 19, said it was contacted 35,244 times in the last year by children struggling with how to be happy.
In recent years, new problems have emerged in the form of, “cyber-bullying, social media and the desire to copy celebrities as they strive to achieve the ‘perfect’ image” said a spokesperson.
However, as our digital lives become an even greater part of our identity, it has left a generation of children exposed and vulnerable to the more pernicious affects of a life lived online.
Cyber-bullying pursues kids every second of every day. The illusion of friendship, so easily fabricated online with a Like or Follow has created an existence that grows increasingly hollow while simultaneously ratcheting up the pressure young people feel to maintain perfect versions of themselves through fear of judgement and ridicule.
The implications are serious — for health, for education, and eventually for the marketplace. Read the whole report here.
And here is an excellent additional comment on the problem, from the perspective of a parent.