Mood: Apathetic

17 Sep

On a recent television assignment for j-school, an article surfaced which said that social media and technology are to blame for a lack of empathy among their users resulting in more self indulgence and less attention to others. Here’s a more recent version of the article.

Though the study has some merits, there are dangers with putting all of your eggs (blame) in one basket. It’s so easy to blame technology for a person’s behaviour. Not to say it’s not a factor. Go to any mall food court and you’ll see a group of teenage boys sitting in silence poking away at their smartphones. There’s no doubt they’re incapable if communicating with each other, and there’s a larger doubt that they’ll be able to communicate with partners, friends, co-workers, educators etc… in the future, but can we really blame Xbox and Twitter entirely for the disconnect?

One of the most important ways for a person to grow socially is through their interactions with influential people who will make an impact on their growth and social development. These are authority figures like parents, and teachers that have a responsibility to guide kids in the right path. Because of the pull of shiny new electronics, these torchbearers have an even larger onus to guide the vulnerable away from screens and encourage them to interact with physical beings (people, books, sports…). Technology has a strong pull but influencers can have a similar effect on people.

Some classmates interviewed students at Humber and some didn’t even know what empathy was. This leads me to believe no one has ever taught them what it means and why it’s important.

The Ego prevails. While people are wasting time finding blame for social problems, they’re losing time trying to find ways to bring feeling back into deadpan faces.

Related:

The dark side to social networking – a lack of empathy, a whole lot of stupidity

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One Response to “Mood: Apathetic”

  1. AlexJ September 17, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    Interesting point – HOWEVER there are also programs such as XBox Live which allows “gamers” to communicate and play against people from all over the world. While I was in China, this was a point that was brought up over and over again. The majority answer was people loved things like XBox Live to communicate and play at the same time. It provided them (both men & women) the opportunity to talk with other gamers from around the world, practice their English speaking skills, and strategize/gaming terminology I didn’t understand, etc. We also used these types of “game” formats for my students on the Autism Spectrum to kind of try out different social scenarios and see which ones where successful and why.
    All in all, I agree that it’s weird that our society has become so impersonal (eg: my 6h graders/now 7th graders are the perfect example) – people talk in “text” abbreviations (LOL), and prefer to IM the person sitting next to them instead of asking them their questions verbally. Makes you wonder if interpersonal and verbal skills have become devalued in our societies as the importance of technology grows? It also makes me wonder if Text English/Abbrevs will evolve into the next generation’s version of Ebonics…scary thought eh?

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