Is the internet making us lonely?


Friend request

Facebook, Myspace and Twitter may be leaving us sad and lonely according to a new report.

The study by the Mental Health Foundation found a third of 18-34 year-olds communicate with friends and family online instead of going to see them.

The report warns they are missing out on mood improving chemicals which the brain releases when you meet someone face-to-face.

Love drug

It highlights work carried-out by 'loneliness researchers that found contact with other humans stimulates the production of Oxytocin.

The hormone is believed to play a role in reducing stress, increasing trust and even creating feelings of love.

Interacting with friends online does not produce the same release of Oxytocin.

New friends

There are some positive findings in the Mental Health Foundation report.

Among 18-34 year-olds 70% say technology helps them to keep in touch with friends they might otherwise have lost.

It also found many internet users meet up with the new friends they make online.

Your comments from Newsbeat on Facebook

Newsbeat Facebook banner

KEIRAN: I agree. I commute to and from London everyday which makes communicating online the easiest way to keep intouch with my friends. The side effect is the loneliness.

JOSEPH: I think they should blame laziness! How about they use Facebook to plan going out and meeting up with each other? Utilize Facebook to make new real friends? hmm IDEA! Let's all meet up for a pint!!!

ANDY: It's a pity - the internet and mobile phones are brilliant but they have created a society which discourages leaving home to socialise.

HEATHER: I live in a very rural community and my closest friends live 30 miles away. It's saving me a lot of time, fuel and texts to chat to them online!

JEN: The internet is convenient and free... unfortunately. People need to realise it's no substitute!

STEF: Sometimes people on facebook are friendlier than the ones in real life. They show more constraint. Friends in my life have let me down. I don't blame facebook, I blame people's selfishness not to understand another's feelings. It's better than being alone.