How can I tell if my child is lonely?

Loneliness is not a measure of how many friends someone has. Even very social children can experience feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Two children sitting with each other

When a young person feels lonely, they may:

  • Avoid talking about friends
  • Seem quiet or withdrawn, or be sad for no obvious reason
  • Lose their appetite
  • Mention they have no one to sit with at school
  • Use social media a lot but don’t contact or spend much time with friends

What causes loneliness?

Loneliness is sometimes linked to:

  • Feeling different from the people around you, like you don’t fit it or that no one gets you
  • A big change, such as moving house or starting a new school
  • Being away from friends and family
  • Losing a loved one or ending a relationship
  • Being bullied or abused

Social media can be a powerful tool for feeling connected. At the same time, it can feel isolating to see friends doing things without you. Sometimes, posts can amplify ways we’re different from others.

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