When television is your new best friend?
A lonely child might invent an imaginary friend, but for adults, reprieve from loneliness comes from a less creative source: television.
New studies find that humans are sating their craving for friendship by forming relationships with the people on TV.
In a new article from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Jaye Derrick and Shira Gabriel of the University of Buffalo and Kurt Hugenberg of Miami University examine the “Social Surrogacy Hypothesis,” which posits that humans are using their TV sets as a substitute for human interaction.
What they found was that people become more emotionally invested in watching television when they felt a need to belong to a social group:
I wanted to highlight this to demonstrate and depict the situation so many lonely vulnerable people that are living in isolation face every day, more so when they are housebound due to illness or disability.
As we age, friends and family pass away or live miles away, have busy lifestyles, and so sometimes people’s social circles can become smaller and they do not see anyone, hence the television is their new best friend.
Please keep a lookout for this with family members.