Is your student lonely?
According to a large research study conducted by Cigna in 2018, Generation Z (adults aged 18-22)and Millennials (adults ages 23-37)are lonelier than even older retirees.
What accounts for these findings?
The study goes on to show the following: "Feeling like people around them are not really with them (69%), feeling shy (69%), and feeling like no one really knows them well (68%) are among the most common feelings experienced by those in the Generation Z(adults ages 18-22). Millennials(adults ages 23-37) and Gen Xers (adults ages 38-51) surveyed follow this pattern, though not quite to the same extent, with similar proportions among these two audiences saying they experience feelings associated with loneliness." (2018 Cigna US Loneliness Index)
When we think of Generation Z and Millennials, it's easy to mistake their constant connectivity with social media as having a connection with others. This is a false assumption.
Not only do they face loneliness, but the relationships they report having are shallow and lacking significance. This is alarming because one of our most basic human needs is to belong and to love.
How can we help our teens avoid the trap of loneliness?
One way we can help is by modeling connection for our kids. By engaging in face to face conversations with them and others and training them how to do the same is a great starting point.
What will this mean for us as adults? It will mean that we will have to put down our phones and give the person next to us the attention they deserve.
What other ways can we help our teens develop deep meaningful connections?