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It’s almost a given that you’re going to feel lonely at some point in your life. And a new survey says that young people are the loneliest age group, overall. But that may not be due solely to smartphone use, as is often suggested.

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The BBC finds young folks feel lonelier than the older generation in a survey of 55,000 people, as reported by Mashable. Forty percent of 16-24 year olds surveyed say they often feel lonely, compared to just 27 percent of the elderly.



But loneliness “is not about being literally ‘alone,'” says mental health writer Matt Haig. “The most connected generation ever are also the loneliest.” That is to say, screen time’s frequently fingered as socially isolating for young people.

Still, it may not be the main driver for young loneliness. While social media and smartphones can certainly contribute to a toxic brain stew in youth, the survey finds that “people of all generations report feeling lonely at this stage in life.”

Young adulthood was the most common answer given from participants of all generations when asked the point in life they felt the most lonely. This seems to suggest even those without smartphones as children experienced the feeling.

In fact, factors associated with youth itself may have more of a bearing on such feelings. The report indicates that the youngest among us are sometimes the most ill-equipped to deal with loneliness, or to understand its passing nature.

What do you think about the surplus of loneliness among young people? Do you agree with the study’s findings that smartphones and screen time aren’t the main contributor to the emotion? Sound off in the comments with your take.

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