In the previous post we talked about the effects of technology on our ability to understand feelings of another. However the deteriorating effect of our human qualities by the technology, media, and violent video games goes far beyond that. “According to a comprehensive study from the University of Michigan, we care about others 40 % less than people in the 1980s did, with the biggest drop-off in empathy occurring after the year 2000.” (Paul K Pickett).
The study consisted of a meta-analysis, combining the results of 72 different studies of 14,000 American college students conducted between 1979 and 2009. The study found that compared to college students of the late 1970s, college students in 2009 were less likely to agree with statements such as “I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective” and “I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me.” (University of Michigan).
In a related but separate analysis, it was found that nationally representative samples of Americans see changes in other people’s kindness and helpfulness over a similar time period. (University of Michigan).
What is the reason behind all of this?
This can be explained by the increased use of social media. The online relationships are easy to ignore. It’s convenient. A friend on Facebook asking for help or talking about their emotional hardship is as easy to ignore as scrolling down the news feed to the next post. If they message you directly, you can just not open the message so it won’t show that you read it. Many of us stopped thinking, “What if he really needs my help?” Instead we think, “Sorry, I’m busy.”
Then, we take this online mentality into the real world and ignoring our friend’s problems when they come to us becomes normal. What is scary is that overtime, this becomes normal even to the person asking for help. So they stop asking for help and stop relying on empathy of others because they come to accept that no one cares about them. They think, “Why would they? They are busy just like me, so I’m not going to care about them either.” And that’s how we begin to lose humanity.
Do you now see what is happening to many of us? This is why Human Social Movement was found, to save the day!
Another reason to the decrease in empathy is the amount of violence that we are exposed to in TV shows and video games. It’s tragically fascinating. The more violent a video game is, the funner it is. The more blood there is in a TV show, the more popular it is. Love doesn’t sell, no. Kindness doesn’t sell, not at all. Violence does.
TV Shows. The Strain, Spartacus, Dexter, Hannibal, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, these are all incredibly violent TV shows. However, they were all on the list of the top 10 most popular TV shows in history! And what about The Game of Thrones? This show is flooded with repeated rape, violent stabbings, brutal torture, and systematic death that are all part of this HBO drama. However it was the most popular TV show in the history of television, at one point grossing an average of 14.4 million viewers every week!
Now Games, out of all the violent games the reason why Dead Rising 3 was ranked #1 on the list back in 2017 was because of the vast variety of creative ways that you can kill someone. You can burn people, cut people , shred people, you can even run them over with a huge monster truck with blades on the front. But most of all, you can kill thousands and thousands every game.
It all becomes clear
So after all the violence that we are exposed to and the effects of social media, we still wonder why we care less about each other? Why there has been a drop in empathy? Where there has been a drop in kindness?
Some say, “It’s not real…I obviously would never do that…this is just a show.” However, Researchers in University of Michigan came to a collective conclusion that, “exposure to violent media numbs people to the pain of others.” (University of Michigan). We become more immune to watching human suffering and pain.
What can we do about this?
Humans Are Far Less Empathetic Than They Used To Be. Paul K Pickett, Sunday, August 25, 2013 http://knowledgenuts.com/2013/08/25/humans-are-far-less-empathetic-than-they-used-to-be/
Empathy: College students don’t have as much as they used to, study finds. University of Michigan, May 29, 2010 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100528081434.htm
Top 10 Most Gruesomely Violent TV Shows. http://screenrant.com/most-violent-tv-shows-bloodiest/?view=all
TV Ratings: ‘Game of Thrones’ Premiere Is HBO’s Most Watched Since ‘Sopranos’ Finale. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/tv-ratings-game-thrones-premiere-694177
Top 10 Most Violent Video Games of All Time. http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/most-shocking/top-10-most-violent-video-games-of-all-time/