Teenagers have fewer friends than 20 years ago, research has shown - despite the increasing popularity of social media.
A study carried out by experts at The University of Queensland in Australia, found teens felt less lonely than two decades ago – but that they have poorer social networks.
来自澳大利亚昆士兰州大学（The University of Queensland）的专家调查发现，尽管青少年的生活相比20年前孤独感在减少，但是他们的社交圈子越来越小。
A survey of more than 285,000 US high school students carried out between 1991 and 2012 found young people had fewer friends with whom to interact, but less desire for more friends.
The Globe and Mail quotes the findings of research, printed in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, which suggests economic changes may have prompted increased individuality among young people.
《环球邮报》（The Globe and Mail）引用刊登在《个性和社会心理学学报》（the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin）上的调查结果指出：经济增长可能会促进年轻人个人主义的增长。
The authors behind the study, wrote: ‘Greater economic opportunities offer individuals more latitude to manage their own money, decide whom to date and decide whom to marry, reducing the influence of kin and giving people more autonomy, which may increase individualism.
‘Economic changes lead to increased individuality, which could lead to decreasing interest in friends, increasing self-reliance, increasing self-esteem and decreasing loneliness.’
Lead researcher, Dr David Clark said further research on cultures outside of the US would help determine if modernisation is the root cause of the observed results.
首席研究员大卫·克拉克（Dr David Clark）博士说，就现代化是否是造成已知结果的根本原因这一点，还有待在美国以外的其他文化中进一步研究。
He said: 'If other cultures show the same pattern of reduced loneliness in the face of poorer social networks, this would support the idea that modernisation is responsible.'
The findings come after a series of studies have shown that the growing use of social networking sites has had a negative affect on the quality of people's friendships.
A study from 2006 by sociologists at Duke University also showed that on average most adults only have two people they can talk to about the most important subjects in their lives while one quarter had no close confidants at all.