Loneliness in a Hyperconnected World

Part II: Solving the Loneliness Epidemic

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

๐Ÿค“ Bite-Sized Knurd: Our digital world is actually making us feel more lonely. How can we live more intentionally in our digital and physical worlds?

Read on for moreโ€ฆ

The digital age was introduced with much fanfare. It was going to connect the world! We can find connection with anyone around the planet!

Now that weโ€™re a few decades (almost 50!) into this experiment that we call the internet, we have come to realize how harmful virtual connection can be. The digital age has both brought us closer together and made us feel more disconnected.

The Metaverse Wonโ€™t Save Us

Tech has exacerbated the problem, not solved it.

Recent reports show how toxic (and not the Britney version) Instagram is. By Facebookโ€™s own research, teen girls have increased suicidal thoughts and 32% report poor body image related to Instagram. These problems are not new, but they are knowingly being exacerbated.

Does social media make us more or less lonely? Depends on how you use it

The promise of the metaverse without fundamental changes to tech incentives will only aggravate the problems of harassment, self-esteem, and isolation.

Tech companies are driven by economics. Instagram makes its money through ads. They can show you more ads the longer you stay on the app. And adding content moderation will cost them more money.

Their incentives are to make as much money as they can and give that money back to CEOs and shareholders. As is their right in a capitalistic society. Until we view the internet as a public good and regulate tech companies, we will continue to have massive corporations influence our mental health for profit.

Luckily, there are people out there doing the work. The Center for Humane Technology. is working to promote humane technology. Check out one of their online events and surprise yourself with the deep conversations you have with people all over the world!

The Fix

The key to the toxicity of tech is in our intentions.

Rather than getting into hour 3 of scrolling, be purposeful in your digital connection.

Identify the digital tasks that make you feel depleted vs. invigorated. During the pandemic, I sought out online events with fellow political enthusiasts. After those events, I was left with a feeling of empowerment and energy. What is your digital empowerment task?

For tech companies, their intentions and profit models must shift to accommodate human mental health. Research at USC shows that games created for the metaverse could increase empathy literacy.

โ€œI think parents will be asking themselves: Do I feel safe knowing that Mark Zuckerberg is the guy in charge of deciding who influences my children?โ€ ย 

- Imran Ahmed CEO, Center for Countering Digital Hate

The onus is on tech companies to change. And we can influence tech companies through our actions. Just look at the #deleteSpotify movement. A trickle can lead to a waterfall of change if enough people band together and say enough is enough.

Next Week: the human need for deep connection

The Good Knurd:

Now's your chance to join in on the action! Thoughtful ways to influence change within yourself and your local community.

  • ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ Discussion: Talk with your people (family, friends, chosen family) about your feelings. If you have open-minded people, you will be surprised at what can come out of a simple conversation.
  • ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธAction: Find ways to limit your screen time and use your extra time for a non-digital hobby. My sisters love needlepoint, I love nature walks.

Weโ€™d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment to share your perspective.

Next Up

The Human Need for Deep Connection
๐Ÿค“ Bite-Sized Knurd: Reconnecting with ourselves and building deeper connections are the main ingredients for solving the loneliness epidemic and building a healthier society. Read on for moreโ€ฆ
๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.


Navigating heart-first activism & storytelling. We explore the ๐ŸŒฑ roots of our world to support communicators, organizations, and activists ๐Ÿฅต to avoid burnout and ๐Ÿ“š tell empathetic stories that cultivate connections that ๐ŸŒ empower โœŠ๐Ÿฝ social change.

Learn more about the Roots of Change Agency.