Chicago — In a 2023 digital media trends report, Deloitte found that one-third of people in the US consider online experiences to be meaningful replacements for in-person experiences, with half of Gen Z and Millennials feeling this way. However, some young adults feel that is far from the truth.
That includes Sarah Smith, a 27-year-old Chicago native. While browsing on TikTok and interacting with friends on platforms like Twitter has its perks, nothing can replace the time she spends going downtown with friends or having picnics by Lake Michigan.
“Social media and things like it can be fun but only for a short amount of time,” she said. “After a few minutes, you just crave for that real social interaction.”
Roderick Penn, 26, feels the same way. He grew up playing a wide range of sports, from basketball to soccer, activities that allowed his circle of friends to constantly grow over the years. Without those in-person experiences, he wouldn’t have met some of his closest friends.
“I’m a very active person to the point where if I don’t do something physical, I’ll kind of go crazy,” he said. “I don’t really think anything online can fill that gap for me.”
However, he’s a big fan of sports video games, which he said is the next best thing as far as entertainment and socializing with his friends goes.
Many young people share that interest according to Deloitte’s report, which found that 40% of Gen Z and Millenials admit to socializing more in video games than in the physical world. Additionally, almost half of Gen Z and Millennials in the United States said they spend more time socializing with others in social media than in the physical world.
Kevin, 28, said he is guilty of this. But, that doesn’t align with what he’d prefer.
“I’d prefer to see my friends often, go to bars, hangout but we live in different states,” he says. “Only way we’ve been able to keep up with each other over the years is to hop on the game. I wish things were different though.”