Isolated in a Connected World

In this age of “connectedness” why are people, especially younger people, feeling more isolated than ever? 

Have you ever wondered what your grandchildren experience in college? There are a set of serious challenges facing college students (your grandchildren) especially this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. One of youth culture’s biggest and ever-increasing problems is the separation of youth from others around them. Among immigrants at the turn of the 20th century, youth experienced separation from their family culture.  Several generations later, youth sought more independence from their parents, creating their own “youth activities.” Following that, youth culture encouraged the formation of teen groups or cliques. Today, youth culture has moved from isolating in groups to isolating the individual. This progression has brought dramatic changes which have not produced positive outcomes.

Young people, especially those attending college are becoming more isolated than ever at a stage in their life when building a community of friends is of utmost importance. Due to the global pandemic, this is playing out at an even higher level than ever before. Universities and colleges are holding classes virtually, cancelling intramural sports, and changing their dining areas and study spaces to accommodate social distancing.  Additionally, they are discouraging students from seeing friends in person or meeting with people off campus. This is isolation, and it is the opposite of what they need at this stage of life.

What are ways we can work against this problem of isolation and detachment? Consider becoming an intentionally involved grandparent. Youth need to be connected to their families and rooted in their identity more than ever at this time. Choose to engage your grandchildren and actively seek them out. Call or text your grandchild often. Send them a letter or a card – include family anecdotes and pictures. Let them know that you pray for them every day. Ask them if there is a specific need for which you can pray. These are beautiful ways to let them know you love them and allow them to experience the strength and joy that comes from being connected to family. 

For discussion: Whether your grandchildren live close by or far away, how can you be more present in their lives? 

For action: Choose one way in which you can tell your grandchildren that you love them (send a text, give a call, invite them over) and plan on doing it this month. 

(Information taken from the Youth Culture Newsletter September 2020, “The Mindset of Incoming College Freshman in 2020”, by Michael Shaughnessy)

Article edited by Bryan Adamovicz 

Copyright © 2021 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.

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