Social Media and Apathy to Human Suffering

Apart from the ethical implications of the digital world demonstrated previously, Web 2.0 and social media have also changed radically the way we perceive and react to human suffering. This idea came into my mind after being exposed repetitively to harassing content that could be found freely, even into my Facebook news feed. After all, I came up to realize that I cannot anymore be as easily shocked as I could have been in the past. We are exposed to violence, murder, crime, terrorism, death and so on that much, we are finally ending up acting indifferent towards what is going on around us. Below, you may  easily identify 2 tragedies that we e-witnessed during 2016.


Europe’s refugee crisis, and the Bataclan terrorist attack. It’s impressive when realizing the effort that takes to just ignore a news-feed post, or a tweet: just scroll down.

Of course, I do not imply that such events do not worth neither our time nor our attention. I’m just using these examples to highlight that news gatekeepers and writers are using shocking visuals on purpose, in order to grab the attention of readers.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 01.51.29

Is it really necessary to demonstrate such a video in an environment that infants have access freely?

As a result, social media users are getting used to misery, drama and tragedy, which leads to desensitisation (Schrarrer, 2008). By any means, desensitization/apathy (due to exposure in violence) could also indicate increased aggression of one’s social life (Carnagey et al., 2007).

At this point, we should also put some though on the social media propaganda. Social media experts and news distributors choose wisely before writing. We are being exposed to content they wish to be delivered to us and after all we cannot be sure about what is going on around the world. Terrorist attacks have been fully covered when it comes to the United States, Paris and Brussels, yet there is no such “social mourning” for the war zones of Palestine, Israel etc.


Carnagey, N. L., Anderson, C. A., & Bartholow, B. D. (2007). Media Violence and Social Neuroscience: New Questions and New Opportunities. Current Directions In Psychological Science (Wiley-Blackwell), 16(4), 178-182. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00499.x

Scharrer, E. (2008). MEDIA EXPOSURE AND SENSITIVITY TO VIOLENCE IN NEWS REPORTS: EVIDENCE OF DESENSITIZATION?. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 85(2), 291-310.


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