By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:42, 30 October 2019
We are becoming a nation of completely disengaged individuals, a nation who would rather interact with phone screens and WhatsApp groups than the friends, family and humans around us.
The consequence of such a deterioration in our behavioural habits has resulted in a staggering five million Brits now going weeks or months without having a proper conversation with anyone.
Research from StoryTerrace coincides with YouGov data showing that millennials are the loneliest generation there has ever been, and are most susceptible to mental illness as a result. New data from YouGov finds that almost 1 in 3 millennials (30 percent) say they always or often feel lonely, and a study by the University of Pennsylvania suggests that social media and a lack of communication skills is one of the driving factors behind this.
The rise of social media and our lust for content sees any digital attempt at sharing our thoughts and experiences quickly lost in a sea of millions of Instagram posts or Facebook updates. Research by OfCom has revealed that on average, Brits are online for 24 hours a week, showing we would rather communicate superficially though screens than face-to-face communication.
Furthermore, the lack of face-to-face interaction that Brits have in their day-to-day lives is also having a profound impact on their mental wellbeing – According to the Mental Health Foundation, 17% of adults in the UK cite the lack of real-life communication and community as one of the key drivers of their psychological challenges. In light of this,
Story Terrace has commissioned nationally representative study, showing the extent to which people across the UK are becoming more and more isolated:
MORE than 1 in 5 people – 9,798,000 – don’t think their friends really listen when they’re talking about their worries or issues
MORE than 1 in 10 people – 5,199,000 – say they don’t have time to have meaningful conversations with their loved ones, or vice versa
1 in 10 people – 4,940,000 – can’t remember having one conversation of worth with anyone in the past week
Over 2.5 million people – 2,590,000 – tell their taxi driver/hairdresser etc. more personal information than they do friends and family
Almost 1 in 4 of us – 8,970,000 people – know of incredible historical legacies and/or unsung heroes in their family that only a few family members are aware of
3 in 10 of us – 10,888,000 people – believe that the historical legacies and heroes in their family will be distant memories in the near future, because their legacy is left undocumented
Over 7.5 million people – 7,624,000 – haven’t taken the time to reflect on their life and what they’ve managed to achieve through the years
These statistics paint a picture of a nation of people that no longer share their experiences in any meaningful way. This begs the question; what are the consequences of not sharing our experiences with those close to us, and what are we missing out on? Rutger Bruining, Founder and CEO of StoryTerrace, provides the following commentary on the importance of communicating personal stories with loved ones:
“Communication is vital to our health, wellbeing and overall happiness; it is a base human need to seek out contact and interaction with others. Yet our research has shown that many of us are going weeks or even months without having a proper conversation with anyone. There are several reasons to which we can attribute this decline in communication, but one of the key factors is that, in today’s content and celebrity culture, many people simply believe that their tales just aren’t worth telling.
At StoryTerrace however, we’ve found that if you ask the right questions, everyone’s life is interesting. You don’t have to be a celebrity or politician to have a story worth capturing – many people have made interesting life choices, pursued their dreams leading to incredible stories of failure and success, endured adversity, explored the world, contributed to their family & community, and been part of history as it happened. These stories spark deeper connections and are treasured by relatives when they are recorded.”