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In 2019, the New York Times reported that colleges were struggling to keep up with requests for mental health services. Despite the plethora of options available for connection, including the internet and social media, researchers say that Generation Z is the loneliest generation.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram were designed to connect people and create a sense of community, but studies have shown that social media use is actually linked to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

A 2017 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine surveyed young adults and reported that social media use may be associated with increased feelings of loneliness. The participants with the highest social media time usage were twice as likely to feel isolated, while those with the highest social media frequency usage were three times more likely to feel isolated.

Another study from the University of Pittsburgh found social media use was “significantly associated with increased depression” in a survey of young adults.

Finally, a study from the University of Pennsylvania reported that students who limited their use of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to 30 minutes a day “showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression over three weeks compared to the control group.” The study suggests that “limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being.”

Does social media cause loneliness or are lonely people more likely to overuse social media? Studies like these seem to indicate a strong correlation between loneliness and social media use and many believe that online social networks are actually the culprit. While popular social apps do allow users to connect with friends and meet new people, their formats can also encourage comparison, jealousy and bullying, and can also highlight the absence of quality, in-person connection.

RecDiv is the first online job platform created specifically for students and alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It connects employers with qualified candidates from HBCU and provides students with the resources needed to succeed in the workplace.