Why are thirtysomethings lonely? Because society doesnt value friendship | Arwa Mahdawi

Social media has been made the scapegoat for millennials reporting loneliness, but the cultural primacy in adulthood of career and family has much to answer for, writes Arwa Mahdawi Millennials arent just the poorest generation; they are also the loneliest. According to data from YouGov, while digital habits undoubtedly affect mental health, research hasnt provided conclusive answers regarding the relationship between the two. When it comes to loneliness, I have a feeling that the culprit isnt so much technology as the fact that many millennials are in their 30s, which is a natural time for friendship dynamics to change: people start focusing on advancing their careers and building families rather than socialising with pals. It feels as if we are …

Facebook Knows More About You Than the CIA

The titans of social media are trapped, and we’re all suffering for it. As free services, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube monetize you by keeping you engaged, so they can show you more ads. The services are designed to exploit our brain chemistry, flashing us notifications and giving us one more hit of algorithm-recommended video. If they didn’t, their revenue would dwindle and shareholders would be unhappy. This is not a mutually beneficial relationship, as the platforms like to say; it’s a parasitic one. Social media hoovers up our energy and most intimate data, and in return we get anxiety and the destabilization of democracy. It’s gotten to the point where the tech giants know more about you than the government …

How the Videogame Aesthetic Flows Into All of Culture

When the science fiction film Edge of Tomorrow, directed by Doug Liman, came out in 2014, WIRED called it “the best videogame you can’t play.” The film’s main character, Bill Cage, repeats the same day again and again—a day of futuristic combat with aliens. Each time he dies, Cage wakes up again on the previous day. Everything is as before, with the crucial difference that he remembers all the previous versions of that fatal next day. The repetitions are the film’s equivalent of a videogame’s replayability, and Cage’s battle skills improve, just as a player’s skills improve through replay. But Cage is not a player. He is a character in a narrative film, so the repeated days are in fact …

Tech platforms called to support public interest research into mental health impacts

The tech industry has been called on to share data with public sector researchers so the mental health and psychosocial impacts of their service on vulnerable users can be better understood, and also to contribute to funding the necessary independent research over the next ten years. The UK’s chief medical officers have made the call in a document setting out advice and guidance for the government about children’s and young people’s screen use. They have also called for the industry to agree a code of conduct around the issue. Concerns have been growing in the UK about the mental health impacts of digital technologies on minors and vulnerable young people. Last year the government committed to legislate on social media …