Gen Z is loneliest generation, as young people yearn for more meaningful friendships, experts say

Denise Dador Image
Friday, June 21, 2024
Experts share advice on how Gen Z can alleviate loneliness
Research shows Gen Z is the loneliest generation as the young population yearn for deeper connections. Experts share advice on how to establish more meaningful friendships

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The loneliness epidemic can affect anyone of any age. Young adults and teens often face their own set of problems.

Experts address what might be the root of helping the Gen Z population deal with their mental states.

You might think the elderly feel the highest level of loneliness, but research shows that's not the case.

"Actually, it's Gen Z. That's the loneliest generation," said Cat Moore, the Director of Belonging at USC. She says young people are yearning for deeper friendships.

"With loneliness, you could be in Coachella, but still feel lonely because you're not connected," she said.

Recent surveys show 73% of young adolescents to about 27 years old often feel alone and disconnected.

"It did feel very lonely," said Ashley Morrison Galdi.

Galdi's USC graduation was online. She did get to walk across the stage many months later, but she says it wasn't the same.

Research shows loneliness can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

"I was not able to socialize with my peers. Basically my entire world would be online for the foreseeable future," Galdi said.

The 26-year-old would spend the next three years living behind a screen at her remote job. All interactions took place on texts, zooms and social media.

"It's not that they're not connected. The issue is, how many of those connections are meaningful," said Moore.

Moore said people born in the late '90s to 2012 have experienced an enormous amount of change. Within their lifespans, they've seen technology transform to a point where it truly impacts how they interact with their peers.

"The ability to start sharing who you really are, including your perceived flaws and shortcomings. That takes a whole other skill set," she said.

Moore says deepening friendships takes courage, kindness and time.

"Anyone can create a sense of belonging for anyone that they're interacting with by slowing down to listen and care about them," Moore said.

Galdi and her husband moved to Lake Tahoe. A new place with new people. She's enjoying in-person work and even though it was uncomfortable at first, she's making new friends.

"Just put yourself out there. Talk to people. Learn about people. Enjoy different experiences and opportunities that you can," Galdi said.

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