God created mankind with the need for meaningful relationships and friendships. And life does provide many avenues for such fulfillment. Good home life provides it, and when family members all enjoy healthy interaction, a solid platform is laid for further social fulfillment outside the home. School, church, workplace, and no doubt many other avenues for social exchange, are available to all age groups.
How then, is it possible for a person to be lonely, with such a vast array of opportunities for social fulfillment? The reasons can be many and complex.
Sweeping changes in the social structure of society have had a great impact upon recent generations. One of these changes is the increased mobility of society. And this is not just referring to modern travel technology, like automotive or air travel. But one result of increased mobility is that people as a whole do not live in one place nearly as long as their parents or grandparents may have.
It has been estimated that as much as 20 percent of an urban population will change their location within a given year. This inevitably hinders the development of a community spirit, and the forming of friendships that are lasting and enduring.
Suppose though, that a person has resisted these changes, and does have roots in a community, and the potential of lifelong friendships. Should this not ensure a fulfilling life, free of loneliness? Unfortunately, more modern threatening innovations come into the picture.
One of these has been around for many years now, and that is television. Like more recent inventions, it had potential for good, but most people would agree that the extreme opposite has been the case. Not only is much of today's viewing content positively harmful, because of the violence and immorality that is creeping into even children's programming, but another of its destructive effects is robbing people of time which could be used for meaningful communication with others. According to research, Americans are watching nearly five hours of TV each day, and in a year, the average child spends 900 hours in school and nearly 1,023 hours in front of a TV. For such reasons, discerning parents have chosen to completely eliminate the television from their homes, and to carefully guard their exposure to other means of entertainment.
Technological threats are a present reality, and the newer personal entertainment devices like music and video players which can be used while walking, or commuting, put users ever deeper into a world of their own.
A sober consideration of all this, reveals that instead of enjoying happy, socially stimulating,and fulfilling hours of interaction with family members and friends, many people, from childhood on, are sowing seeds which may well result in a harvest of loneliness down the road.
- Mervin Brubacher,