Are People Becoming More Secluded?

It seems so. People went from talking to each other (without calling), then phones, then e-mail and text. I hear it from other people.

If you do notice this, if you would be so kind to name the country you are in, I’d appreciate it. I’m in the US, btw.


It depends on what you mean by “secluded.” If it means “little interaction with other people,” then I think I actually disagree. Technology has made being able to interact with people who aren’t physically nearby even easier than ever, and allowed us to meet people who share our interests all over the world. I have to believe that there are many people out there who deeply value their online interactions with other people, as without them, they might have little interaction with others, at all.

But, it can be argued that even video chat isn’t the same as being in the same room with another person, and I do think that it’s becoming easier to never leave the house. There are also the anecdotes of families sitting around a table together, everyone with their noses down in an electronic screen. So, from that standpoint, there’s something going on.

I don’t think so. I would preface this by saying I am retired so the effects may not be so apparent.

Sure lots of emails and texts but they replaced no communication. I believe I contact more people now rather, than say, 15 years ago.
We also shifted sides of the continent and have made many new friends who I would never email but see over a beer on Friday at the local footie club.

For us we are less secluded.

Anecdotally: absolutely, 100 percent yes.

In fact, I’ve grown to dread face-to-face interactions with real people who aren’t friends or family. I use the self checkout at the grocery store rather than exchange pleasantries with the cashier. My hair is a wild mess in no small part because I would rather go to the dentist than make small-talk with the hair stylist for ten minutes.

That made me laugh.

So your dentist makes better smalltalk than your hair stylist?

I prefer to not be in very large groups. One or two people is okay. Or if I’m really busy (as I am when volunteering) I’m good. I live in a very rural place. I have mild agoraphobia. No neighbors. My kids are spread out. Mr.Wrekkers hobbies keep him travelling about. So here, alone I sit. It’s good, though. I like being with myself.

I’ve seen it–hell, even McDonald’s has what I call the “Social-phobia kiosks,” where you can order your food and pay without all the discomfort of…human interaction! (shudder)

It’s beginning to remind me of Asimov’s The Naked Sun

One reason (of many) that malls are dying is that teens, for example, don’t go there to hang out anymore. They stay and home and do social media (or gaming).

In our neighborhood you hardly see kids playing outside anymore. The trails in the woods next to us have overgrown and can’t be seen anymore.

TV did a major number of people’s social lives in the 1950s. Now with streaming and 500 channels on cable it’s even worse.

I’ve heard people point out that online social groups are taking their place. And these groups focus on narrow interests, esp. political and religious, instead of things like being neighbors. This in turn is skewing the country’s politics into almost tribal warfare.

So there is a replacement social interaction, but it’s an unhealthy kind. Sort of like joining sects.

It is of course a the one hand/the other hand phenomenon. Yes, it diminishes direct one-on-one interaction with people you can tell are real and substitutes avatars where you can’t tell if someone’s a bot or sock. But for those who suffer from anxiety syndromes or phobias, being able to communicate and engage in activities in virtualspace is a blessing as they do not have to live as hermits. At the same time it facilitates a “narrowcasting” of people engaging only with the ones they agree upon only on the topics they like, in effect still isolating themselves in self-reinforcing bubbles. It allows the different and the nontypical to know they are not completely alone, but it also allows those on extreme fringes to delude themselves that they are more than they really are.

We are fully connected, each one apart.

I read a long time ago that TV and the air conditioner were the biggest culprits. Before their invention, on a hot summer night, people would actually sit on the front porch, talk to each other, greet neighbors as they walked by, stuff like that.

I think the internet (especially social media) has increased superficial social interactions. It is easier to stay in touch with people and feel like you belong somewhere.

But I think the internet has lowered the overall quality of social interactions. Social media has made it so that people feel “connected enough” with their social circle, thus reducing the need to meet up with folks in real life (and in doing so, potentially learn more about a person besides their “highlight reels”). I also think social media has made relationships more vulnerable to drama. It’s yet another platform where miscommunication and misunderstandings can occur, as well actual obnoxious behavior. There’s a whole wing of my family that is estranged from everyone else because of the political views they constantly espouse on Facebook. They probably do a better job of censoring themselves in real life, but for whatever they don’t hold back on the internet.

A lot of people try to avoid social media, but unfortunately for them–this is how invitations and event information are frequently disseminated. So if you aren’t on the social media platform favored by your social circle, then you’ll likely be excluded from stuff. It’s easy to place the blame on the anti-social media people for being “Luddities”, but I think this overlooks the very real phenomena of social media-exacerbated mental illness. A lot of people are depressed by being constantly bombarded by the highlight reels of their friends and family. Fear of missing out (FOMO) can be induced by watching your friends have adventures and bonding experiences without you. So for these folks, they really are better off not being on social media. The downside is that it is harder for them connect with all the other folks who don’t have a problem with social media.

Finally, I think modern conveniences have made it easier to “cocoon”. Almost every restaurant I frequent delivers now. “Netflix and chill” isn’t just an euphemism for sex; it’s also a great way of unwinding after a long day at work, along with gaming. It is perfectly normal to close oneself off with earbuds for the whole day. Chewing the fat with folks on the internet eliminates the need to chew the fat with strangers at the local drinking hole or bowling alley. So yes, I think we are more secluded. As a loner, I am not especially troubled by this but I do worry we are creating a generation of people who are more socially anxious and inept than their predecessors.

You sure don’t live in my neighborhood! I see kids out playing all the time, and lots of young people at the mall when I go walk there, although usually not teenagers because I generally go there at times when they are in school.

There is more interaction, and there isn’t. The Internet has enabled people with unusual interests to find each other and come together; that, I definitely enjoy.

One thing I consider myself grateful people don’t do any more is drop in unannounced. I’ve heard from people in immigrant communities that in their homelands, the ones without advanced technology, people still do that, and you’d better be prepared to let them in and feed them even if you really don’t want to see them. :dubious: My mother always had to keep a spotless house when I was a kid because “someone might stop by”, something that just didn’t happen by the 1970s.

This is what I worry about. When I was younger, I was totally content to spend most of my Saturday and Sunday day time playing videogames and watching tv in total isolation. Or even just wander around town by myself. But at night, I always liked to have plans to meet my friends out somewhere. For me, social media is just another channel for making those in-person plans.

I kind of feel like young people these days don’t really feel inclined to do that. Many seem content to only interact through social media and make dates and hook-up through apps instead of actually going to bars and clubs and putting in the time.
But really for me, social media has allowed me to stay in contact and actually make in-person plans with people I probably would have otherwise lost track of.

It’s a thing called cocooning, and it was prominent in the news a few years ago. Still happening as more tech makes it possible to conduct life without interacting with other people at all.

In Japan, they call them hikikomori. An estimated 541,000, but possibly many more.

Not sure the basic premise of the OP makes much sense to me. If I only talk to people face-to-face then I’m limited to interacting with folks within, say, walking distance. If I can pick up a phone and call, suddenly the “village” opens up nationwide. Email and text can go to anyone across the globe, at no additional charge.

Speaking for myself, it is mixed. There are a few people that I am in constant email contact with. And I have never used the do-it-yourself checkout because I enjoy exchanging a few words with the cashier (at least when they can speak English which they mostly can). On the other hand, since one moved away 25 years ago, I have never been inside the homes of any neighbor, nor they in ours. But that isn’t very different from what it was when I was growing up in the 40s. Kids were in each other’s houses often, but not grownups. The “just-drop-in” ended with telephones.

I distinctly remember a time finding texting on a phone moronic. Recently. You have a phone. Call.

Now I find myself using voice recognition to send texts or other IM. A lot. I’m quite good at it. I’m not sure if it’s for myself or others. Probably a little bit of both. You don’t have to have fake pleasantries with texts and can get right to the point.

This, coupled with an increased ability to work from home, I think is really going to result in a lot of socially awkward people eventually.

I know I definitely would have zero interaction with anyone from high school and probably would have forgotten all of their names if not for Facebook.