This month I’ve been talking a lot about bullying. It’s an epidemic for our kids but it’s not something that as a parent you’re defenseless against. You can do something to help!
Something parents feel particularly helpless with is cyberbullying. And cyberbullying has become a bigger and bigger problem. It’s reported that 43% of students have been bullied while online, and 53% of kids admit they have said something mean or hurtful to another kid online—one in three of those have done so more than once. Cyberbullying is a huge issue.
I recently interviewed Dr. Josh Straub. He’s a psychologist and leading expert on social media and the effect it’s having on our kids. One of the big points he makes is that social media is causing teens to lose empathy.
Social media is causing teens to lose empathy.
In our interview, he talked about a study done on college students. The study found that over the past 30 years, self-centeredness has increased by 40% in students and empathy has decreased by 30%. This lack of empathy is a product of an internet culture that teaches kids they are the center of the universe and distances them from real relationships and face-to-face conversations.
Lack of empathy is a product of an internet culture that distances kids from real relationships.
With this lack of empathy and face-to-face connection, it has become easier and easier for kids to bully other kids online. They even share videos of bullying, so the whole school can see, causing kids to be desensitized to inappropriate and cruel behavior.
So what can we do about it? If a lack of empathy is at the core of the problem, teaching our kids to have empathy is the solution.