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59% of socially-withdrawn young people’s attempts to get out into society fail

59% of socially-withdrawn young people’s attempts to get out into society fail

Posted July. 31, 2023 08:12,   

Updated July. 31, 2023 08:12


Lately, the rising number of socially-withdrawn young people who have severely limited interactions with others has risen as a social issue. It was found out that those who muster the courage to get out into society often fail and go back to their previous situation in many cases. According to the survey of 403 young people with such experiences, which was jointly conducted by The Dong-A Ilbo and the Korea Youth Foundation, 237, or 59 percent, of all respondents said they went back to living in seclusion after they stopped living as a hermit and came out into the society. A significant number of them pointed to difficulties finding a job and losing a job as the first reason.

The vicious cycle of socially-withdrawn young people who plucked up the courage to interact with others but went back to the previous state clearly shows the lack of social interest, consideration, and the government’s policy help. Those who became hermits again said that, despite their courage to overcome emotional and physical limitations and take a step into society, they were even more hurt by people’s cold treatment and the reality that nobody was on their side and had to return to their small space.

Those who became isolated again after a failed attempt to return to society will likely fall into longer and deeper seclusion. Therefore, experts say that the central and local governments should go beyond simply identifying such young people and develop institutional support measures to ensure their stable entry into society. Without step-by-step help for basic social interactions and continuous work experience, they are bound to fall into even deeper isolation without being able to find reasons to get out into society.

The number of young people in such an isolated situation saw a sharp increase during the past two to three years since the outbreak of COVID-19 and is currently estimated to be about 610,000. A population of a mid-sized city is stuck in a room, disconnected from the outside world. Such social isolation and seclusion that began in adolescence can lead to later ages, which indicates a serious impact on our society in the future. This is why the government should preemptively get involved in the issue of such young people.

The isolation and seclusion of marginalized young people is an issue of society and community rather than an issue of individuals. Some local governments are running customized therapy sessions and career exploration programs, while the Ministry of Health and Welfare began the first nationwide survey of such young people. These efforts should not be just limited to the central or local governments. Systemic support systems, such as cooperation with private companies and organizations, and social encouragement to be open to and embrace socially-withdrawn young people are desperately needed.