Loneliness is part of life, but technology is increasing the tendency. If it is true that technology helps us to be reliable at any time and to meet new people, it is also true that it contributes to create more artificial relations by leaving aside the face to face iinteraction This makes relationships more superficial and less rewarding. This contributes to the feeling of loneliness, increasing the rate of mental health problems like depression.

The trap of Social Networks

Nowadays, there is a great range of social networks: people are using them to share, to get informed, to interact and to meet.

Also, they respond to a basic need for recognition, due to a modern culture of ideal performance and success at all costs. According to the psychologist, psychoanalyst, and specialist on Digital Worlds, Michael Stora, “a young person can find an identity marker in an intense social networking, with a process of recognition by his peers.” In fact, social network offers a space to live an idealist and fictitious life, where the person unveils his privacy by being behind a screen, causing the alienation of identity. This digital platform gives both narcissistic rewards and voyeur satisfaction.

According to a study of the Faculty of Medicine, Pittsburgh, USA, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on 6 March 2017, the more time a person spends on Social Networks, the greater the feeling of loneliness becomes because the time spent is lost time for more authentic social experiences.

It is also possible that a person who already feels lonely turns to social networks in order to feel better. Similarly, the repeated use of these can lead to a kind of rupture with the real world, contributing to a feeling of isolation. Moreover, according to this study, social networks contribute to the generation of negative feelings: for instance when a person sees a photo of his friends at a party that he was not invited to attend.

Smartphones, not the best friends

Technological tools respond perfectly to our demand for speed, to the compulsive need to consume information, to be in constant interaction, to immediately satisfy pleasure, to fight against frustration, boredom, and anguish, causing addiction.

More specifically, a smartphone is a psycho-social umbilical cord: it has an anxiolytic function with a true generational relation interface, according to an article in The Huffington Post France.

We use it at any time, no matter if we are with someone; we fall asleep and wake up with it. It can cause anxiety when we do not have it near or when we cannot use it. As well as compartmental addiction our need to use it results in a loss of control, causing several physical, psychological and social problems like vision problems, articulations pain, insomnia, loneliness, anxiety, depression, and concentration problems, not enjoying special moments with others and increased risk of accidents. In fact, a study by the UK Post Office in 2008 found that 53 percent of mobile phone users presented symptoms of anxiety in the event of loss, poor network coverage or low battery.

For children, an overuse of technology may cause developmental deficiencies, with a lack of skills and abilities, like poor vocabulary.

Also, it increases the risk of obesity, as well as cognitive and relationship problems.

Overall, our use of social networks and smartphones reveals our inability to be alone, and our narcissistic need to show off. However, according to Christophe André, psychiatrist of Sainte-Anne Hospital (Paris, France), “these means of communication are a formidable tool for liberation, knowledge, reflection and exchange, as long as we have a good use of them, which is not the case for now”.