Is Social Media Desensitizing Us?
Start writing a post

A recent study performed by the University of Michigan discovered that college students are 40 percent less empathetic than the students thirty years ago. I don't know how you feel about that, but to me, this data is extremely concerning. This lack of empathy shows that students are less likely to feel affected by mass tragedy or help out a friend in need. The biggest change in empathy seemed to happen in the 2000s with the rise of social media.

How is social media making us less compassionate for others?

Every day the world seems to become more "selfie-centered." Social media trains us to be careless about other people. According to Craig Groeschel in his book "#Struggles," every time we see something about ourselves—especially things perceived as positive—our brain releases dopamine." As we are scrolling through social media, we become more and more obsessed with ourselves and care less and less about others.

Along with becoming more obsessed with ourselves, social media makes us less compassionate for others by replacing relationships instead of enhancing them. Groeschel provides a great example of this in his book "#Struggles." Imagine you're having coffee with a friend and talking with them about your life and they suddenly pull out their to-do list and write a couple of things down and then put it away. Then a few minutes pass and they pull out a book, read a few pages and then put it away. Then, they get up in the middle of you talking, walk to another table and say hello to someone, and then come back and sit down. This is exactly what we do during our personal time with friends every time we pull out our phone just to answer a quick text or check on our other appointments.

Sometimes, we don't even make the time for personal time with friends. Social media allows us to care from a distance -- which isn't really caring at all. Groeschel says "if you say that you care but then don't act on that feeling, it's the same as not caring at all." Social media makes it so easy for us to quickly say "I'm praying for you" or comment "I'm so sorry for your loss," but we need to follow up with that friend and make sure they are doing well. It means so much more to a person when you pray with them or meet up with them when they are going through a rough time instead of messaging them on Facebook.

How is social media desensitizing us to the world around us?

Every time an important cause hits social media, it blows up for a few days and then everyone forgets it ever happened. There is evidence on a correlation between an idea or cause becoming extremely popular and a decline in social compassion. Once we see a cause so many times on social media, we get tired of seeing it and disregard it. We forget that these are real people that are suffering that really do need the help of the community.

Social media also makes all posts look the same, so our brains have trouble differentiating between what is important and what is not. When we scroll through our news feed and see a funny video and then next a post about a school shooting, our brain does not see these posts as different. We have to remind ourselves that some things on social media are real, tragic events that need our attention. Social media displays these things as equal, which over time desensitizes us to the things that really matter.

How can we gain our compassion back?

We need to remember social media's place in our lives. Social media can be an excellent way to share positive information and keep up with what our friends and family are doing, but it should not replace our relationships. Social media allows us to share parts of our lives with other people, but we need to be genuine. Be the person God made you to be, even on social media. Remember that your identity lives in Him, not in who you create online or in how many likes you get.

Our personal interaction with people is so important because that is the way we are going to impact people the most. God asks us to love people the way that He loves us, and that is with compassion. Whenever we see Jesus and the compassion in the Bible we see an immediate call to action. When we see causes on Facebook or a tragedy on Twitter, we need to recognize that those are real people that need serious help. People are not going to come to know Jesus through likes and clicks on social media. People will come to know Him through us showing people love the way that He loves us. As Groeschel puts it, "as Jesus followers we should care more."

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.


The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments