The paradox of loneliness in a digital age
Ours is perhaps the most socially connected generation in history. We live in an age when people can communicate almost instantaneously by email and messaging programs, talk with one another over video, and be in contact with a large number of others through social media. We have the possibility of maintaining friendships not only in our locality, community groups and workplaces, but all over the world.
The endless possibilities for social connection have many benefits. However, the paradox is that loneliness is an increasingly serious problem in western societies, and especially amongst the generation that is most digitally connected. While others, such as divorced or separated men, are also highly vulnerable to loneliness, young people are actually more lonely – as a group – than the very elderly.
What then can the Church do better or differently, in meeting this growing social need, both within our congregations and beyond?…
Professor Patrick Parkinson AM is the Executive Director of Publica and a leading voice in issues related to families.