Publication date
Format info
189 pages

Zero Friends. Loneliness among Children and Youth

Kavereita nolla. Lasten ja nuorten yksinäisyys

What do you do when you don’t have any friends?

A timely discussion of loneliness among children and adolescents – a far-too-prevalent problem in contemporary society.

There are lonely people in every age group, but especially among the young. As many as one-fifth of children and adolescents suffer from at least occasional loneliness and experience anxiety that they don’t have anyone to turn to: a trustworthy confidant, a friendly ear, or even just someone to talk to. Social and emotional loneliness of this calibre has both immediate effects on the lives of young people and far-reaching consequences that may well be irreversible.

Zero Friends reviews the latest research on loneliness and delves into the phenomenon through the personal stories of children and adolescents. It asks what we as a society could do so not a single child has to ever feel left out again.


Rights sold

Estonian (Koolibri)
Russian (Alpina)


Reading materials

Estonian edition
Finnish edition


Awards and nominations

Shortlisted for The Best Book of 2015 Award (The Grand Finnish Journalism Prize)


List of contents

9 Foreword

13 Loneliness
18            Alone vs. lonely
23           Campaign for well-being in primary schools
29 Reality of lonely children – lack of friends
33           Social and emotional loneliness
42           Emotionally lonely boys
46           Sense of detachment
50 “Is it ok if someone is lonely?”- children’s thoughts on the word loneliness
53           Measuring possibilities
63 How common is the loneliness of children and young people
70           But it is girls who are the lonely ones?
74 Unpleasant effects of loneliness
79           Why is it difficult to get rid of loneliness?
86 Loneliness and other worries
97           Social anxiety / social phobia
106        Depression
115         The physicality of loneliness
118         Can you catch loneliness?
120 Where does loneliness derive from?
120        The situational factors
121         Being different, especially one’s own experience on being different from others
122        Skills, both social and cognitive, both learned and absorbed
123        Social reputation
124        Mistreatment or ignorance during childhood
126        Poor contexts
129 Is loneliness inherited?
134        Loneliness in a relationship – can you be lonely together?
135 Sometimes it seems that nothing has any meaning any longer
138        Cries for help
144        The difficulty of helping- why should I?
146        If, then, however, I want to be the one who is different from the others
149 Interventions for solitude
156        Everyday interventions
158        Social competence
163        Parents as a support to the lonely
173        Our joint responsibility for the youth
180 What do the lonely children and youth want us to do?

188 Bibliography