Laura Ingraham discusses how, despite constant connection, social media caused a decrease in Americans spending face-to-face time with each other and contributed to an epidemic of loneliness on “The Ingraham Angle.”
LAURA INGRAHAM: Now, here’s a troubling statistic flagged by the economist Bryce Ward in The Washington Post. Americans spent 38% less time with their friends and extended family just over the last Thanksgiving weekend, and in the past two years than they had in the decade prior this occurred. Even more disturbing: The trend lines toward social isolation were worsening even before COVID began. Between 2014 and 2019, the amount of time we spent with friends decreased and the time spent alone increased by more than it did after the pandemic began.
According to the Census Bureau’s American Time Use Survey, between 2010 and 2013, the amount of time the average American spent with friends was stable at about 6.5 hours per week. Then in 2014, time spent with friends began to decline. So what accounted for the drop in in-person socializing? Well, here’s an educated guess. In 2012, Facebook went public and bought Instagram. And by 2014, the social media company was a dominant force in American life. Five short years later, by 2019, the average American was spending only four hours per week with friends — a sharp 37% decline from 2014. So the increasing use of social media, also political polarization, online pornography all contributed to Americans’ move inward. Of course, COVID restrictions only made this growing trend of loneliness worse.