The Daily Tar Heel
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Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

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The Daily Tar Heel

A plague of narcissism is breeding among the college youth.

No longer are we considered Generation Y. We have been labeled Generation Me.

According to a recent study by the University of Michigan, college students are much less empathetic today than they were 20 years to 30 years ago.

It is easy to attribute a lack in empathy to an inherent selfishness of my generation.

This muddled accusation does not pinpoint the heart of the issue.

Narcissism is spreading among the masses. It seems too many parents are more interested in their BlackBerrys than their children.

This disease of technology and innovation can push us into isolation.

With the development of the Internet and media, empathy is a quality that has gone to the wayside.

Since more technology than ever is being designed for the individual, it is hard not to become insensitive to people.

Laptops, iPads, iPod Touches, iPods and smart phones let you do whatever you, sometimes only you, want to do.

Your sister may like the “Glee” application, but that does not mean you are about to add it to your iPhone.

Hulu and Netflix allow you to watch television shows and movies on your computer.

Goodbye to the days when you had to watch “Dexter” while your friends were talking.

Now you can watch it in quiet solitude. Just put on your headphones, and it is like no one else is even there.

Hewlett Packard is marketing its computers with the tagline, “The computer is personal again.”

The real question is: How did we go from being individualistic to insensitive?

One word: Facebook.

I am addicted to Facebook as much as the next person.

Even though the social network allows you to express your true or desired self, it also compels you to take others at face value.

But because we cannot see the immediate consequences of our actions on Facebook, we continue to disregard others’ emotions and focus on ourselves.

Out of sight, out of mind.

The epidemic of insensitive behavior triggered by Facebook is transferring over into real life.

We are treating others like profiles instead of actual people.

Even though technology may be to blame, our behavior is still inexcusable.

We need to take some time away from technology and focus on each other.

This does not mean increasing the time you spend Facebook-stalking.

Try sitting down and talking with some relatives or old friends you may not have seen in a while. Get to know their 3-D version.

I know this sounds like an after-school special, but I’d rather we spend more time face-to-face than on Facebook, Hulu, Netflix, etc.

Otherwise, empathy will become as outdated as MySpace.

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