"Playing videogames and constantly checking Facebook for status updates could be killing empathy among college students, according to a new study from the University of Michigan (UM).
"We found the biggest drop in empathy after the year 2000," Sara Konrath, a researcher at UM, was quoted as saying. "College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago."
Researchers compared college students today to those of the late 1970s. They found today's students are less likely to agree with statements similar to, "I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective" and "I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me."
Other research supports the trend, showing that a nationally representative sample of Americans has declined kindness and helpfulness measures over the same time period.
Researchers say this is not surprising information and that increased exposure of media, rise of social networking, and the ease of having friends online allows people to tune out whenever they want.
In addition, "College students today may be so busy worrying about themselves and their own issues that they don't have time to spend empathizing with others, or at least perceive such time to be limited," Edward O'Brien, a UM graduate student who conducted the meta-analysis, explained. "