Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It is a critical aspect of social interaction, enabling us to form strong connections with those around us. However, recent research suggests that empathy is declining in the new generation, with many young people struggling to connect emotionally with others. This paper will explore the reasons behind this decline and its implications for society. We will draw on recent research in psychology and social science to understand the factors contributing to this trend.
The Decline of Empathy in the New Generation
Research indicates that empathy is declining in the new generation. A study of college students conducted by the University of Michigan found that empathy levels have been decreasing since the 1980s, with a sharp decline in the past decade (1). This trend is not limited to the United States, with similar findings reported in Europe and Asia (2).
One of the factors contributing to this decline is the increased use of digital technology, particularly social media. Social media platforms are designed to encourage self-promotion and self-aggrandizement, which can lead to a lack of empathy towards others. Young people are growing up in a world where social media is ubiquitous, leading to a culture of self-centeredness that can make it difficult to connect emotionally with others.
Another factor contributing to the decline of empathy is the emphasis on individualism in modern society. Young people are often encouraged to prioritize their own needs and desires over those of others, which can lead to a lack of consideration for others’ feelings. The emphasis on competition and achievement in school and the workplace can also contribute to this trend, as young people may see others primarily as rivals rather than as potential friends or collaborators.
The Implications of Declining Empathy
The decline of empathy has significant implications for society. Empathy is crucial for social cohesion and for building strong, supportive communities. Without empathy, it is challenging to form meaningful connections with others, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Additionally, a lack of empathy can lead to conflict and aggression, as people may be less likely to consider the impact of their actions on others.
Moreover, empathy is essential for addressing societal issues such as inequality and discrimination. It is difficult to understand and address the experiences of others without empathy, leading to a lack of progress towards social justice. A decline in empathy could contribute to a more divided and less compassionate society, with negative consequences for everyone.
Reversing the Decline of Empathy
Reversing the decline of empathy will require a concerted effort on the part of society as a whole. One crucial step is to promote empathy in schools and at home. Parents and educators can encourage children to consider others’ feelings and perspectives, emphasizing the importance of kindness and compassion towards others.
Additionally, it is essential to foster a culture of empathy in the workplace. Employers can promote teamwork and collaboration, encouraging employees to work together towards shared goals rather than competing against one another. They can also create a work environment that prioritizes respect and consideration for others, emphasizing the importance of treating colleagues with empathy and compassion.
Finally, it is crucial to address the root causes of declining empathy, including the impact of digital technology and individualism. This may involve rethinking the ways in which we use social media and other digital technologies, emphasizing their potential to connect us with others rather than to promote self-promotion. It may also involve reevaluating societal values, emphasizing the importance of empathy and compassion over individual achievement.
Empathy is declining in the new generation, with significant implications for society. Digital technology and individualism are among the factors contributing to this trend, but there are steps that can be taken to reverse it. By promoting empathy in schools, workplaces, and society at large, we can build a more compassionate and connected world.
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Schmitt, M. J., & Oswald, M. E. (2016). Empathy in young adulthood: Socialization and selection effects in college. Developmental Psychology, 52(2), 278-289.
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Yap, M. B., Wright, M. F., & Jorm, A. F. (2012). The influence of stigma on young people’s help-seeking: A survey of 12- to 25-year-olds. Journal of Affective Disorders, 134(1-3), 468-478.
Ghosting, the act of suddenly ending communication without explanation, can cause significant emotional distress. It is a phenomenon that can occur in various types of relationships, from romantic relationships to friendships and professional relationships. Being ghosted can lead to feelings of confusion, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, which can significantly impact mental health. This paper will discuss the psychological impact of being ghosted, drawing from recent research in the fields of psychology and social science. Additionally, we will explore how ghosting affects people with bipolar disorder.
The Emotional Impact of Ghosting
Being ghosted can have significant emotional consequences, including feelings of confusion, anxiety, and depression. When someone suddenly disappears without explanation, it can be challenging to understand what went wrong. This confusion can lead to self-doubt and questioning one’s self-worth. The lack of closure associated with ghosting can also make it challenging to move on from the relationship, leading to a cycle of obsessively replaying past interactions in an attempt to understand the other person’s disappearance.
Research shows that being ghosted can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression (1). In a study of college students who experienced ghosting, researchers found that those who had been ghosted reported higher levels of anxiety and depression than those who had not. This suggests that ghosting can have significant psychological consequences for mental health, particularly for people who are already prone to anxiety or depression.
The Role of Technology in Ghosting
In recent years, technology has played a significant role in the phenomenon of ghosting. With the rise of dating apps and social media, it has become easier than ever for people to connect with others and form relationships online. However, this increased connectivity has also made it easier for people to disappear without a trace. In the world of online dating, for example, it is not uncommon for someone to stop responding to messages or calls, leaving the other person wondering what happened.
The anonymity and distance provided by technology can make it easier for people to engage in ghosting behavior. Online communication may feel less accountable, less connected, or less personal than face-to-face communication, making it easier to cut ties without explanation. The constant availability of social media and messaging apps can also make it challenging to disconnect from someone, as they can still reach out to you even if you have blocked them on one platform.
Recovering from Ghosting
While being ghosted can be emotionally traumatic, it is possible to recover from this experience and move on. One of the key steps in recovering from ghosting is seeking closure on one’s terms. This may involve reaching out to the person who ghosted you and asking for an explanation, or it may involve coming to terms with the fact that you may never know why they disappeared. Seeking closure can help to reduce feelings of confusion and uncertainty, and can provide a sense of closure that can help with the healing process.
Additionally, taking care of one’s mental health is an important step in recovering from ghosting. This may involve seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. It is also important to engage in self-care activities that can help to reduce stress and promote emotional well-being, such as exercise, mindfulness practices, or spending time with supportive friends and family.
Ghosting and Bipolar Disorder
Ghosting can have a severe impact on people with bipolar disorder, a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings that can range from manic to depressive episodes. Research shows that people with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of experiencing relationship problems, including being ghosted, than the general population (2).
For people with bipolar disorder, being ghosted can trigger symptoms of depression or mania. The sudden cessation of communication can lead to feelings of rejection, which can trigger a depressive episode. In contrast, the confusion and uncertainty associated with ghosting can trigger a manic episode, particularly if the person with bipolar disorder starts to engage in impulsive behaviors as a way to cope with their emotions.
Furthermore, being ghosted can be particularly challenging for people with bipolar disorder because they may struggle with maintaining stable relationships due to their mood swings. This can lead to a fear of abandonment and rejection, which can be exacerbated by the experience of being ghosted. Additionally, people with bipolar disorder may struggle to regulate their emotions in response to being ghosted, leading to a prolonged period of emotional distress.
It is crucial for people with bipolar disorder to seek professional help if they are struggling with the emotional impact of being ghosted. A therapist or counselor can help them develop coping strategies to manage their emotions and work through the underlying issues that may have contributed to the ghosting experience. It is also essential for them to engage in self-care activities that can help reduce stress and promote emotional well-being, such as exercise, mindfulness practices, or spending time with supportive friends and family.
Ghosting can have significant psychological consequences for the person who is left behind, leading to feelings of confusion, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Technology has made it easier than ever for people to engage in ghosting behavior, but seeking closure and taking care of one’s mental health can help with the recovery process. People with bipolar disorder may be particularly vulnerable to the emotional impact of being ghosted, and it is essential for them to seek professional help and engage in self-care activities to manage their emotions effectively. Ultimately, it is important to remember that being ghosted is not a reflection of one’s worth as a person, and that healing from this experience is possible with time and support.
LeFebvre, L. E. (2018). Ghosting: A mixed methods analysis. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35(4), 539-560.
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Suppes, T., Leverich, G. S., Keck Jr, P. E., Nolen, W. A., Denicoff, K. D., Altshuler, L. L.,… & Kupka, R. W. (2001). The Stanley Foundation Bipolar Treatment Outcome Network. I. Longitudinal methodology. Journal of Affective Disorders, 67(1-3), 33-44.
Yen, C. F., Hsu, C. C., Liu, J. S., Huang, C. F., Ko, C. H., & Yen, J. Y. (2015). Risk factors for relationship problems in bipolar disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 172, 367-371.
Yatham, L. N., Kennedy, S. H., Parikh, S. V., Schaffer, A., Beaulieu, S., O’Donovan, C.,… & Berk, M. (2018). Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) 2018 guidelines for the management of patients with bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorders, 20(2), 97-170.
Have you ever considered what might be the next trend to die? Which aspect of your daily social life will just fade away? Just as disco, AIM, planking (which seems to have slowed down in popularity), and Myspace.com have all but dissipated, now Facebook is likely doomed to face a similar fate. As the new age of internet-goers show a disinterest in Facebook-ing, it is becoming apparent that other trends and newer social media tools will take its place in the near future. What am I even talking about you say?
But what can we attribute to the decline in young Facebook users? Actually, a couple different events have occurred over the years that may lead us to an answer. In fact, as you scan over the chart to your left, you may realize what exactly has happened: Facebook has become completely accessible to everyone.
Originally, Facebook was meant to be a hub for college people to keep in touch, to find someone during or after college in hopes of changing their relationship status, to include yourself and others in events, to help keep up with best friends’ lives even after they left the safe confines of the dorm room. All this slowly morphed into much, much more: people now rely on Facebook for chatting, for daily inspiration, or for simply killing time. The age groups grew, the visitors and participants became younger/older, and everyone that knew how to use a computer slowly became a Facebook-er.
So what? Is everyone not entitled to freedom of speech and entertainment? That’s just it though. When you or someone you know joined Facebook they were probably still in college or had just finished college. Now they may be a parent of a child, and that child finds them (unfortunately) very uncool. They don’t get their parents’ lame humor and wish to be alone and unbothered when they are online. In comes the (still cool regardless what the child thinks) parent: ensuring their child is OK by befriending them on Facebook. They comment on life updates and statuses posted by their child, and restrict usage when their child gets out of line. And why not? That is what parents do. Their child is their responsibility and they will do anything to protect their child. As always though, children try to combat this by looking to other forms of entertainment, something the parents do not use, something that is only beginning to trend and takes time to adapt to. And so with younger generations Facebook is slowly becoming uncool because of its accessibility and ease of use.
If you notice, even the media is to blame for Facebook’s decrease in popularity. You would be hard pressed not to find a twitter link nowadays that you can send your opinion to during news broadcasts. Not to mention the recent IPO (initial public offering) of Twitter, which was a huge success and to date has already surpassed the Facebook stock by 4 points. This shows that there is currently more of a vested interest in Twitter and its rising popularity, even in the stock market. With results like that, investors are all but begging for SnapChat to become a new stock on the stock market, which, like Twitter, is experiencing a rise in popularity and future potential among younger media users.
Did I mention Facebook owns Instagram? At least if Facebook dies, Instagram can be the next wave of income for Mark Zuckerberg. It’s almost as if he is trying to let us know what to trend next…
What should you take from all this? Will the king of social media be knocked off his horse? Or is this just another example of too many things at once distracting us from giving our full attention to any single entertainment vessel? If you consider all that the internet allows access to, all the different forms of entertainment that is readily available today: Wondergressive (of course), Twitter, Pintrest, Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Reddit, etc.; Facebook simply gets lost in the long list of ways to occupy ourselves on the internet. So many, many, many distractions, and I will leave you with just one more! Below is a graph from investment banker Piper Jaffray depicting the popularity of social media sites among teens. Cheers!
You know him. Maybe you are him. The casual acquaintance, not quite friend, he saunters forward, dilated pupils scanning over each of his shoulders, iPad casually out and ready, a knowing smile forming a crest of righteously pompous paranoia across his stubbled jaw, beads of youthfully enthusiastic perspiration clinging to his hipster handlebar mustache, and, beaming with false solidarity, he presses play:
Half-way through the clip, he starts digging through his leather “Tool” wallet and pulls out five pre-creased bills to further baffle you with (below).
Ok, great, I’ve seen this stuff before. So was 9-11 an inside job? Maybe just allowed to happen for private agendas? It’s old played-out news, and, most likely, your mind was made up long ago. The more important question no one seems to be asking is, “why should we give a shit?”
Woah woah woah!! You can’t mean that?
I do. Absolutely. And if I do my job here, hopefully you’ll be shrugging with indifference as well by the end of this article, and the world can be a happier place with just a few more rainbows and baby unicorn farts. Come follow me on this fanciful rollercoaster ride, enjoy all the benefits of “disregarding bad news.”
Where we stand
Today, 36% of Americans either are certain or pretty sure that 9-11 was an inside job. So, this is not some fringe group of loonies, but a rather hefty chunk of “we the people,” not to mention the masses on the fence open-minded to the idea. The countless YouTube links circulating Facebook are everywhere so the question has been posed to just about everyone by now. If we can all unite for a moment and assume the very worst, “9-11 was our government killing its own people,” that’s exactly why we need to knock this right the hell off. Terrorism is bad, but thinking about terrorism is far worse…
There is a natural rhythm to peering down the rabbit hole. First is the rush of finding something sensational; it triggers this carnal craving to be “in the know”. Then, once the initial high of learning something edgy wears off, the specific details slowly fade away from our memories and we’re left with only a few linchpin ideas. These are the singular points that, at least to us, are utterly irrefutable. The linchpin is a beautiful mental process that allows us to unburden and feel righteous in our opinion, free wonder about other things.
On the official story believer’s side of the case is the old, “how could that many people possibly keep something this big a secret?” Then, to the conspiracy theorists, all they need are 2 words, “building 7,” and the argument is over. In either case, it’s like an atheist preaching to a born-again; it always ends in a, “well I just have faith,” and a perforated stress-ulcer coupled with bloody stool.
I mean something far greater than apathy when I say this: once you quit giving a shit, it’ll all be roses. I promise.
What that means is, if a small powerful group of the world’s elite was responsible for 9-11, they knew full-well that some would shout “bullshit.” It’s a matter of human nature. So don’t you think, just maybe, if they knew how you’d react, that might have been part of the plan?…
I hope you can bear with me here. Remember, we’re still assuming the “truthers” are right.
Since the 60’s, the idea of “the man” has been all but ubiquitous, but in the last decade especially, an overwhelming shift in perspective has occurred to where it’s now just assumed common knowledge that “your government is out to get you,” like some unspoken rule. FEMA camps, chemtrails, illuminati symbols, clips of cops beating rioters all flood through our bandwidth. Ideas that would have gotten one ostracized a decade ago are now commonplace. politicians are corrupt, the news is filled with lies, food is poison and breathing causes cancer, so cynicism seems to be justified, but let me ask you this: How bad was 9-11 really?
Even the “they” out to get you isn’t out to get you.
3000 people died that day. That’s terrible, but not really (how dare you?). Nearly 3000 people have died since you started reading this article.
But those weren’t Americans so it’s not as important? Or, those were largely natural causes (circle of life)?
The callous truth is, in spite of all the hype, the numbers are a speck of rubble amidst the heap of steel and concrete that is human mortality. Being blown up by a terrorist is terrifying (hence the name), but not only are you more likely to die slipping in the shower than you are to die in a terrorist attack, you are 4,167 times more likely (where’s the war on hygiene?).
Here’s what I’m suggesting: the result has been accomplished. Even If our own government were the orchestrators of 9-11 (again, maybe so, maybe not), it absolutely doesn’t matter.
The numbers are so small they are inconsequential. If the government attacks its own people, you should worry about it if you also expect to be struck by lightning while holding a winning lottery ticket; it could happen, but it won’t.
The dwindling baby-boomers who still trust FOX-news may fear terrorist, but the internet doesn’t. The internet, though, is afraid. We are afraid of something far worse…
If these elusive shadow men really run the show, the larger game was not anything tangible, but the propaganda campaign that followed, where we now collectively fear our government. That was the aim. The result has been this massive uneasiness on the collective mind of the people that the one’s they were supposed to rely on were out to get them, and that is far scarier.
Pissed off guys in caves with access to box cutters is not a threat to a heavily armed nation. But a group who controls the riot police, watches all the satellites, monitors your browsing history, and owns the judicial system is trying to kill you… that’s scary.
Guess what, my friends; they aren’t. 3000 people. Whoever it was killed just enough to make it seem plausible that they are killing us. They aren’t. They just aren’t. Do serial killers exist? Of course. Will you be skinned and made into a lampshade at some point this week? Absolutely not!!!
Now I can already hear the backlash. “He must be working for the man. They got to Qwizx, too.” Or, “What about the FEMA camps, flying drones, and U.S. citizens put on no-fly lists or labeled terrorists without trial?”
Yep. Those are things alright. So what? The only thing that’s changed is now we know about it. Far worse things have happened and will continue to, because that is part of the human condition. Say thank you to the internet for being a check on the villains of the world’s nefarious bullshit. You are just as safe you were before you did a Google search for codex alimentarius, but now you are aware.