Are we on the road to becoming hikikomori? Is modern technology promoting social withdrawal and poor mental health?
How many times in a day do you use your phone? We are living in a digitalized world where everyone is, from kids to adults, addicted to technology. Throughout the day, we are using our phones between 80 to 300 times a day! We are sending emails, checking Facebook posts, tweeting, checking Instagram, liking stuff and much more.
If like me you work from home, you rely even more on technology to ‘be’ with your clients and do your job. What we don’t realize, or tend to minimize, is that this addiction to technology is negatively impacting our lives and our health. The development of social media platforms in the past years has revolutionized how we interact with each other. Though personal and business communication through modern platforms offers certain benefits, there are negative impacts a well.
According to some researchers, online social networking ‘causes profound changes in the way we communicate’ and is linked to problems such as low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. The failure of keeping up with others or seeing the successes of others lead young people to stay away from society and adults to compare themselves with perfect lives and feel inadequate.
The hikikomori issue:
Who do you think are the victims of loneliness, depression, and social withdrawal?
Many people would say older adults and pleople with long-term unemployment however, it is our young generation. Social isolation often leads to vulnerability, depression, loneliness, and poor mental health. In recent times, there seem to be an increase in the number of young adults and teenagers cutting off from the world, confining themselves to their room or to their flat.
This is often refered to the hikikomori issue, a form of acute social withdrawal of adolescents and young adults. This problem was highlighted in Japan in the 1990s. Now, it is slowly coming to the US and UK.
Is loneliness beyond and individual’s control? Do people mostly have themselves to blame? Most people tend to think loneliness is usually due to factors and circumstances beyond a person’s control 72% in the UK agree with this versus 54% in the US.
Reason for social withdrawalThinking about why teenagers and young adults are cutting off from the world? There are several reasons for this including seeing themselves as a failure, unemployment, and infobesity.
Do you know what infobesity is?
It can be defined as information overload. Over the years, the internet and technology have developed and expanded, making it easy to have access to information. In recent times, we have made it our need to stay connected. This has over flooded us with information. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many other sites are sucking us in and we are allowing this to happen. This means we have a dopamine urge, an urge to feel good, an urge to frequently check our accounts and be liked. This constant need to stay connected has damaged our health, caused stress, impacted our productivity, and even made us depressed. All this slowly leading to social withdrawal.
I would like to say that it is time to pause, to wake up and think about ourselves and our future generations. It is time to think about what world we want to live in and how we want to interact with others and build friendships and lasting realtionships. Without any doubt, today we are more connected but we have fewer real connections.
Marie claude Bouchet
Mental well-being, stress management, resilience etc.