Students feel lonely; social media a cause?


And Nicholas Cucchi


Millennials are among the loneliest generations, according to a recent study.

One survey of millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004) indicated that one in five said they felt loneliness of some sort.

Some experts have cited social media as a potential contributor. 

But the issue needs more study, according to Dr. John Porcerelli, a professor and director of the Detroit Mercy Psychology Clinic.

Porcerelli noted that in the elderly loneliness is extremely bad for their health.

“It’s a presider of sudden death,” he said.

As for millennials, they are at ages where they are developing their identities and their careers.

They are supposed to be developing intimate relationships, said Porcerelli.

Social media can hamper this, he noted.

But it has benefits, too.

“It’s a remarkable tool for those far from loved ones,” he added.

What do local millennials think?

The Varsity News asked students whether they consider themselves lonely and how social media impacted their feelings.

Their answers varied greatly.

Joseph Loria, a Detroit Mercy student, said he felt lonely but social media did not really make this any worse or better.

In fact, Loria said, “I use social media to feel less lonely.”

Apps such as Snapchat allow him talk to friends anytime of the day.

Aside from that, Loria meets up with friends in person and this helps counter any feelings of loneliness.

Tanja Campbell, another Detroit Mercy student, said she felt lonely but unlike Loria she generally feels lonelier after viewing social media.

The aspect of social media that makes her feel lonely is the idea that everyone is connected but you are not seeing the real genuine person in front of you.

To counter her loneliness, Campbell said she generally tries to keep herself busy with pastimes such as cooking recipes she finds or unwinding by listening to music.

Benjamin Dietlin, a Wayne State student, who also said he felt lonely said that social media contributed towards his feelings.

“It gives you the feeling that everyone else is doing more than you are,” he said.

It can be hard to watch everyone else doing things on social media when you are busy with homework and exams, he noted.

Dietlin also thinks it’s important to keep yourself busy to avoid feeling badly.

Omari Crume, a Detroit Mercy student, said he generally does not feel lonely.

His thoughts on social media were mostly positive, too.

“I use social media to keep in touch with some of my longtime friends,” he said.

Crume also said it’s important to stay busy because he finds that when he is bored he occasionally feels lonely.

He keeps busy reading books or playing online video games with friends.

Andrew Wu, a student at Princeton, said he enjoys alone time and rarely feels lonely.

He said he balances alone time and social time to feel content.

Like Loria, he is mostly neutral about social media’s impact and said it’s good when you can use it to connect to friends.

He said he does not feel discouraged by other people doing exciting things while he is studying.

He is always happy to see his friends having a good time.

“Everyone has their own lives, so to each their own,” he said.

To avoid feeling lonely, Wu studies with roommates and keeps in touch with close friends.

Detroit Mercy student Edwin Jurado applauded social media’s ability “to bring people together everywhere around the world.”

The problem comes, he added, “when people try to replace social interaction with social media, which may cause some isolation.”

Jurado said that as long as people are able to see the difference, they should be okay.

Jazlyn Acosta said social media can feed some people’s needs.

“There are people who need attention from social media to feel like someone is acknowledging them,” she said.

A trend seems to be people posting online for other to notice them.

Jose Perez agrees to an extent.

“Social media plays a big part on your feelings depending on the way you use it and how your mind views it,” he said.

He said he feels more isolated than lonely.

Particularly when “you get left out of events or friendly get-togethers,” he said.