Humans have never been as well connected as in the present. This is a world of texts, whatsapp chats, phone calls and video calls. But the same technology that is connecting us, is making some feel happy, while making the others feel isolated. Social isolation is the absence of social contact or social relationships that lead to loneliness. But social isolation and loneliness are not always the same thing. Loneliness might be experienced when you are alone in your home or when you are in a restaurant with your family and friends. We will explore how technology makes people feel included or isolated here.

Social isolation is predominantly noticed in young adults at the age of 19-40, and in older adults who are above the age of 65. Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development classifies these age groups as Intimacy vs. Isolation stage and Integrity vs. Despair stage respectively. To learn more, check out https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/intimacy/what-else-you-dont-know-about-erik-eriksons-intimacy-vs-isolation/

The Intimacy versus Isolation stage is where a person is meant to form meaningful relationships and develop emotional intimacy with others. This denotes both to romantic relationships as well as close friendships and familial bonds. The intimate relationships are characterized by closeness, honesty and love. When the young adult fails to do so in this stage, it leads to isolation and loneliness. The Integrity versus Despair stage is the final stage of Erikson’s psychosocial development theory. Around the age of 65 is when people retire from jobs, fall ill due to aging, lose their loved ones to death, and all these events trigger a question about the meaningfulness of one’s life. If the person feels accomplished with his or her life’s achievements and feels content, they die without any regrets. But if the individual feels that they were unsuccessful, they live the following years with bitterness and despair, leading to a death full of regrets.

The technology comes in handy for elder persons or those above the age of 65 when battling social isolation. They are prone to loneliness due to various age factors. The internet has been found really helpful as constant messages, calls, and video calls keeps them connected with their family members and friends. Social media sites have been noted to keep them socially active and connected to the outside world. The younger generation and elders can bond over learning how to use technology which also contributed to better bonding.

Hasbro Joy For All has introduced robotic pets that mimic life like pets. They have fur, heartbeat and react like an actual pet to being petted or spoken to by purring or barking. These pets can bring a lot of joy and a feel of companionship when feeling alone.

Technology that was really helpful in avoiding social isolation, in the case of older adults, is one of the most important reasons for social isolation in young adults. Almost all of us in the age group of 19-40 have a social media account and a smartphone. The younger generation are becoming highly dependent on technology for anything and everything. This has given way to lack of human communication. The technological advancements has also disrupted the home and work life boundaries. Parents and partners spend longer time working on their gadgets even while home, rather than forming emotional bonds. This lack of intimacy makes them fail in the Intimacy versus Isolation stage. The lack of empathy in relationships formed via internet and social media platforms, often have a negative impact on the person. The social media platforms also makes it seem like everyone is leading a perfect life, except you, which causes low self-esteem. All these lead to social isolation and loneliness in most young adults.

Technology that is supposed to make our lives easier has become a source of mental and physical illness. A measured usage of social media and other technology is essential to lead a balanced life.