Nearly HALF of Gen Z say they’re living a double life online – as shocking survey reveals one in five across generations have a secret online persona

Nearly half of Gen Z admit to living a double life online, research revealed today. 

Experts who quizzed 2,000 Americans found 46 per cent of the 16 to 24-year-olds felt there was a significant difference between their online and real-world selves.

One in five people across all generations also admitted to having a secret internet persona that no one else knew about. 

Experts behind the study today urged people to strike up more conversations between friends and family ‘to understand each other’s worlds’, but cautioned the survey was merely observational. 

Gerald Youngblood, chief marketing officer for North America at tech company Lenovo, who carried out the research, said: ‘Around one in five of the world’s young people have a mental health condition, reflecting a global crisis.

A new US survey of 2,000 adults revealed that 46 per cent of Gen Z respondents think there’s a significant difference between their online and real-world selves

‘We hope this social experiment will drive more conversations between friends and family about the need to understand each other’s worlds for the sake of mental well-being.’

The 2,000 people surveyed were split evenly by generation, Lenovo said. 

Experts found 38 per cent of Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, 18 per cent of Gen X, born between 1965 and 1980, and eight per cent of Baby Boomers, born between 1955 and 1964, admitted their online personality was vastly different from how they present themselves in real life. 

Meanwhile almost a third of Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, said they kept their online world hidden from family. Just over a quarter of Millennials said the same. 

More than half of Gen Z also claimed to find it easier to express themselves online than offline, compared to 40 per cent of respondents overall and fewer than a quarter of Boomers.

Experts also found, however, that Gen Z aren’t necessarily happier maintaining a double life online. 

The survey showed 68 per cent of Gen Z respondents felt a disconnect between who they are online and off – with those who experience it saying it’s led to feelings of anxiety (18 per cent), loneliness (17 per cent) and depression (15 per cent). 

When asked which topics they felt more comfortable sharing online than off, about a fifth said they would be more likely to share their ambitions on the internet compared to face-to-face, with 22 per cent mentioning their likes or dislikes, 19 per cent their beliefs — political or otherwise — 17 per cent their fears and insecurities and 15 per cent their opinions and values. 

The study also revealed that 61 per cent of Gen Z said they wished they could have challenging conversations with friends and family offline.

Of the 23 per cent of younger adults who feel more at ease being themselves online, 27 per cent said they believe they won’t face judgement on the internet, while 22 per cent are unafraid to be authentic and 23 per cent have formed stronger relationships online. 

Yet, 54 per cent of Gen Z said that speaking to a trained professional would boost their confidence to communicate more openly with their loved ones in the real world.