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  • Writer's pictureTharun sai E

Have we become lonely because of phones?

As technology continues to advance and shape our daily lives, there's been a growing debate about its impact on loneliness. On one hand, technology can provide us with new ways to connect with others, especially during times when face-to-face interactions are limited. On the other hand, it's also been suggested that technology may contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation, as we spend more time engaging with screens instead of each other.

The Pros of Technology in Alleviating Loneliness

Technology can be a powerful tool for helping us feel more connected to others, even when we can't physically be together. Here are a few ways in which technology can help alleviate loneliness:

  • Video chatting: Video chat apps like Zoom, WhatsApp, Gmeet and FaceTime have become essential tools for maintaining social connections since the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Social media: Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be a great way to stay in touch with friends and family members who live far away, or to connect with like-minded individuals who share our interests.

  • Online communities: Online communities, such as forums or discussion boards, can provide a sense of belonging and connection to others who share similar experiences or interests.

The Cons of Technology in Contributing to Loneliness

While technology can be a valuable tool for staying connected, it can also contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Here are a few ways in which technology can have a negative impact on our mental health and well-being:

  • Social comparison: Social media use may be linked to increased feelings of loneliness and depression, as well as decreased self-esteem and body satisfaction. When we compare ourselves to others online, we may feel like we don't measure up or that we're missing out on important experiences.

  • Screen time: Spending too much time in front of screens can lead to sleep problems, eye strain, and other physical health issues. It can also contribute to feelings of disconnection from the real world.

  • Artificial intelligence: This is a relatively new concern but something that needs to be discussed. With AI growing at such rapid rates, we’re also seeing how new AI chatbots are being built that help you have organic conversations over chat. With this tech advancing at such a rapid progression, it is also possible that it will be able to have full conversations with expressions and voice modulations. There are talks of AI replacing therapists as well. It remains to be seen how it will augment or worsen loneliness.

Finding a balance

So, what's the key takeaway here? When it comes to technology and loneliness, balance is key. Here are a few tips for using technology in a way that enhances our social connections, without contributing to feelings of loneliness and isolation:

  • Set boundaries: Limit your screen time and social media use to specific times of the day. Make a point to disconnect from technology when spending time with friends and family in person.

  • Prioritise face-to-face interactions: Even if it's just a phone call or video chat, making time for face-to-face interactions can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation.

  • Use technology to enhance connections: Focus on using technology in ways that enhance your social connections, such as video chatting with friends or family members who live far away.

In conclusion, technology can play a valuable role in helping us feel more connected to others, especially during times of physical distancing. However, it's important to use technology in moderation and to prioritise face-to-face interactions whenever possible. By finding the right balance, we can use technology to enhance our social connections and improve our overall well-being.

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