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How Can Social Connection Help Kids & Teens Feel Less Lonely?

Everyone feels lonely at times. Loneliness is feeling alone, distant, or separate from others when you want to feel close or included.

Kids and teens might feel lonely when they:

  • feel left out or don’t have friends around
  • feel they don’t belong or aren’t welcome
  • feel alone with a problem
  • feel distant after they argue with a parent, friend, or sibling
  • miss a loved one because of a separation or loss

Do Kids and Teens Feel More Loneliness Today?

Lately, people of all ages report feeling more loneliness. Our fast-paced digital world makes it harder for kids and teens to form the bonds they need to be happy and healthy. Not getting enough face-to-face time and eye contact makes bonding tricky. That can leave some kids and teens feeling lonely.

Over time, too much loneliness can be harmful to a person’s mental and physical health. But there are ways to reduce loneliness. The best way is to increase social connection.

What Is Social Connection?

Social connection means feelings of closeness, bonding, and belonging. It’s a basic need that everyone has. Without enough social connection, loneliness can take its place.

When kids and teens have social connection, they:

  • have fewer feelings of loneliness
  • can handle lonely moments more easily
  • feel better more quickly after a lonely moment

How Does Social Connection Help Ease Loneliness?

Social connection is good for mental and physical health. When kids and teens have social connection, instead of feeling lonely, they:

  • feel close to people in their life
  • feel cared for, loved, listened to, and understood
  • feel accepted, included, and valued for who they are
  • know they belong — to a family, a group of friends, a team, or a community
  • have people they can trust and feel good around
  • feel part of something bigger than themselves — such as nature or a cause that matters to them

Parents can help their kids feel less lonely. Work with them to develop social connection skills, like being kind to others and making healthy friendships.

Also, make time to bond with your kids daily so they know they can count on you. Boosting their social connection will help them today and into adulthood.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date Reviewed: Oct 31, 2023

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