Do 21st-century skills make you less lonely? The relation between 21st-century skills, social media usage, and students’ loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic

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21st-century skills are a new category of competencies recommended for people to adapt to the digital era. Digital communication skills, particularly, are regarded as an important facet in a progressively moving online society. Empirical evidence of their actual value, however, is largely missing. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic offered an appropriate testing ground for the possible beneficial role that such skills might play. Our results show that digital communication skills correlate with loneliness. However, social media usage, online contacts, and offline contacts only partially mediate the relationship between digital communication skills and the loneliness levels of students. In addition, we found substantial differences between the two waves of data collection and the types of contacts that influenced loneliness. While skills may have reduced loneliness, the precise mechanism of this effect needs to be clarified more. We offer suggestions for future research to examine the potential benefits of 21st-century skills.
Originele taal-2Engels
Artikelnummere25899
Aantal pagina's13
TijdschriftHeliyon
Volume10
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
Vroegere onlinedatum6 feb. 2024
DOI's
StatusGepubliceerd - 15 feb. 2024

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