Elon Musk Reacts To Teen Loneliness: Marc Andreessen Shares Stats Showing Americans Have Reduced Socializing By Nearly 50%

Tech billionaire Elon Musk expressed surprise after venture capitalist Marc Andreessen reposted a statistic showing American teens are increasingly becoming lonelier and reducing socializing with their friends.

What Happened: Andreessen was responding to a statistic that revealed that American adults and teens have reported a sharp decline in how often they socialize.

"When I was a kid, the moral panic of the day was the opposite of this," Andreessen quipped, with Musk responding in surprise.

When I was a kid, the moral panic of the day was the opposite of this. https://t.co/j9LovAdNDM

— Marc Andreessen 🇺🇸 (@pmarca) February 14, 2024

The statistics, reported by The Atlantic, showed that less than 60% of teenage boys and girls go out with their friends more than two times a week. This has fallen drastically from nearly 80% in the 1970s. What makes it worse is the fact that socializing has been on a consistently downward trajectory since then, with 2020 witnessing a sharp fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

See Also: New York City Sues TikTok, Facebook, YouTube In Their Home Turf Los Angeles Over Alleged Harm To Kids’ Mental Health

The report also points to a significant increase in screen time, including television and phone use.

This shift towards digital interaction is especially prevalent among young people, who increasingly replace social time with friends with phone time.

The report suggests a direct correlation between the rise in phone use and the decrease in face-to-face socializing.

Another factor contributing to the decline in socializing is the erosion of America’s social infrastructure. With a shift towards more individualistic entertainment and fewer community-based activities, Americans spend more time alone.

This trend towards solitude is associated with an increase in feelings of loneliness, depression, and suicidal thoughts among teenagers, according to the report.

Coincidentally, New York City has sued TikTok, Meta Platforms Inc.'s (NASDAQ:META) Facebook, and Alphabet Inc.'s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) YouTube for alleged harm to kids' mental health.

The lawsuit accuses the companies of deliberately designing and marketing their platforms to attract and addict young users, with minimal parental oversight.

Why It Matters: The shift towards digital interaction and the decline in physical socializing is a trend that needs to be addressed.

This shift in social dynamics has significant implications for mental health, particularly among young people, and highlights the need for strategies to promote healthy social interaction in the digital age.

Social media giants like Meta have been under increasing scrutiny around the world due to the harmful impact of their services on children. In September, authorities in the U.K. urged Meta to prioritize child safety on Instagram and Messenger.

Check out more of Benzinga's Consumer Tech coverage by following this link.

Read Next: Americans’ Love Affair With iPhone Grows Stronger: 1 In 8 Android Users Switched To Apple In 2023

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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