Smartphones make teens lonelier at school because they isolate young people from their friends, study shows
- A study by San Diego State University analyzed data from 60,000 British teenagers.
- The proportion of 15- and 16-year-olds who feel alienated has tripled in twenty years
- A third of teenagers said they feel isolated from their peers, compared with a tenth in 2000.
- Strong correlation with smartphone access, which has skyrocketed since 2012.
- Students talk less and feel excluded when viewing photos online.
According to a study, today’s teenagers are more lonely at school than they were 20 years ago because smartphones prevent them from connecting with friends.
Researchers found that the proportion of 15- and 16-year-olds in the UK who feel alienated from their peers has tripled since 2000 to 33% – one in three.
They said the growth coincides with the widespread use of smartphones and social media by this age group.
Students “talk less” and feel alienated when they see online photos of their peers having fun without them.
The study found that in 2000, 10% of 15- and 16-year-old Britons experienced high levels of loneliness at school. In 2003, the levels practically did not change and amounted to 9 percent.
According to a study by San Diego State University, the proportion of teenagers in the UK who feel isolated from their peers tripled from 2000 to 2018, from 10 percent to 33 percent.
But by 2012, that figure had increased to 15 percent, skyrocketing to 25 percent in 2015 and 33 percent in 2018.
Around 60,000 teenagers were included in the UK data. They were asked to rate how much they agree or disagree with statements such as “I feel like an outsider or out of place at school” and “I feel awkward and out of place at school.”
The research team, led by San Diego State University, said that school loneliness “is an established predictor of ill health and depression among adolescents.”
The increase in reported loneliness was higher among girls than among boys and was strongly correlated with increased access to smartphones.
The authors, who have studied children around the world, added that social media in particular has a negative impact as it can increase feelings of missed opportunity or lead to cyberbullying.
The increase was higher among girls than among boys.
A study published in the Journal of Adolescence says that there is a strong link between smartphones and loneliness, although blame cannot be unequivocally justified.
The researchers say that teens’ well-being “began to deteriorate after 2012 due to increased access to smartphones.”