Student Research Projects

Millennials' Attitudes Toward Silence and Solitude

Student Elizabeth Lane, Devin Cowhey, Cherrelle Artis, Taja Glover, Dominique Cross
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Communication
Course COMM 324: Mass Communication Research Methods


Today’s college students have grown up in a society that values social interaction. The Millennial Generation has many unique characteristics. People in this generation were born between the years 1979 and 1994. The name “millennial” acknowledges this generation’s “technical superiority” (Kundanis 33). In general, these individuals want personalization and instant gratification, they “value friendships and have more friends than their parents did” (Sweeney). Many Millennials come from families with divorced parents. Some experts say that this makes the generation value family more and may also be an attribute to the fact that they have stronger friendships than other generations (Sweeney). The development of the Internet, widespread use of cellular phones, and technologies surrounding music and television, make communication with others and obtaining information easy and quick. The concern is that students are having face-to-face interaction, listening to music, or using some form of technology from the minute they wake up, to the minute they go to sleep. According to Kathy Simmons in an article for the American Society of Association Executives, “solitude is not exactly viewed as time well spent” (Simmons).

Solitude can be defined as time spent without technological or human distraction. It is a confluence of silence and aloneness. This is time when an individual is not making phone calls, text messaging, using the Internet, watching television, listening to music, or interacting socially with others. This is time spent by oneself, most often in a quiet setting, taking time for thought, rest or reflection, among other things.