My niece is a single child. Her teen years seem to be very very different from mine. Unlike my childhood where I had a brother, multiple cousins, ‘building friends’, ‘family friends’ and various other segments of friends, her primary and only set of friends her age are her school friends. Her time outside school is spent between multiple screens – watching TV, messaging friends and browsing Facebook. I often wonder, is she growing up to be a lonely child.
It was quite reassuring to read a researches by two Australain schools - Griffith University and the University of Queensland. They say, no lonliness is not increasing. In fact, quite on the contrary – loneliness is on a decline with every passing generation.
Their data points out that recent cultural shifts like urbanization, increased social emphasis on personal success, freedom arising from greater economic opportunities and parents placing less emphasis on raising obedient kids – has led to greater sense of individuality. Individualism, in turn, reduces the feeling of loneliness. Increasing self reliance, self esteem and decreasing interest in human interest – decreasing loneliness.
Tonight, I will go to sleep a happier aunt knowing that perhaps my tech saturated niece's tech based social interactions are perhaps making her more adept at social interactions than I ever was or ever will be. So, cheers to yet another plus point of technology.