The Stream

#NoFriends: What is technology’s role in the loneliness crisis?

On Thursday, June 8 at 19:30 GMT:
In an age where technology is allowing people to connect in more ways than ever, why is concern over loneliness on the rise? The #IHaveNoFriends declaration is common on social media and experts say trends in friendlessness have only been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now in the US, the nation’s surgeon general has issued an advisory on loneliness and why it should be considered an epidemic that poses a threat to both individual health and society at large. Studies show chronic loneliness can lead to anxiety and depression, as well as premature death and increased risks of heart disease and dementia.

How has social media and the internet changed our perspectives on finding deeper connections with others? While some technology can be used to combat the effects of social isolation, there is greater cause for concern when online interactions are being used as a replacement for real-life friendships.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at why loneliness is a growing issue and what’s being done about it.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, @jholtlunstad
Professor of psychology and neuroscience, Brigham Young University

Lucia Magis-Weinberg, @luciamawe
Assistant professor, University of Washington

Harry Hobson, @HarryH7
Founder and director, Neighbourly Lab