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Socially Networked Or Emotionally Bankrupt?

We see each other every day. In line at the grocery store, across the counter of the coffee shop, rubbing shoulders on the subway we share our space. But even in cities where we spend time huddled in close contact, and certainly is sprawling suburbs, we seem to be communicating less, and feeling, now more than ever, disconnected. We are social animals. Our bonds with those around us—our community, our tribe, our village—once aided our survival, and in part account for our individual existence in the here and now.

Socially networked or emotionally bankrupt?

Psychologist Matthew Lieberman, in his book Social, says the human need for connection is even more fundamental than our need for food and shelter. And we’re reaching out for it. Americans are spending a total of 520 billion minutes a day online. While much of that time is spent on social media, liking, sharing, and messaging, we’re lonelier than we’ve ever been. In their book, Networked, Lee Rainie of the Pew Internet Project and sociologist Barry Wellman explain that “internet encounters contain less social information and communication and might cause relationships to atrophy.” In fact, other research found an inverse relationship between social media engagement and real world relationships; those with the most diverse online networks knew fewer of their neighbors and were less integrated into their local communities than those who rarely used social media. A study in the U.K. found that a third of the nation did not feel a connection to community at all.

All of this is a significant problem when you consider the health consequences loneliness can wreak. One study published by a Yale epidemiologist found that people who were not connected to others were three times as likely to die than their more supported neighbors. Loneliness dangerously increases cortisol levels and blood pressure in women and men of all ages. It’s even been shown to exacerbate the rate of tumor growth—according to a UCLA study, social contact switches on and off genes that control the immune system’s response to cancer and tumor growth in particular.

Read more: Community: How To Find It & The Research Behind Why It Works – mindbodygreen

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3 CONVERSATIONS

  1. ‘Even a Live Wire would be Dead But for it’s Connections,’ so said a wise man. Try how hard you may but proving the above dictum wrong would be next to impossible. Relating the same theory of connectivity to human life-cycle, it becomes abundantly clear when you visit the Old Peoples’ Home or a Long-term Care Facility. Majority of the poor, old, neglected individuals die a thankless death they never dreamt would befall upon them after taking care of their own children with the best possible care.

    I totally agree with the notion of an emotional bankruptcy pushed onto the gullible society in the garb of social networking to the extreme.

    Thank You!

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