Is the Internet killing empathy?

Is the Internet killing empathy?

People find things that are traumatic, dangerous and potentially dangerous…interesting. Videos of a car crashes, police chases, someone having a stroke become viral very quickly. This article mentions a study done between adults & kids and what their capacity for empathy is.

Dr. Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan. (2011, March 04). Is the Internet killing empathy? Retrieved April 01, 2017, from


Found on Facebook: Empathy

Found on Facebook: Empathy

This article talks about how the meaning of empathy has changed. Empathy is portrayed differently online and its getting noticed. The author mentions Sherry Turkle’s “Reclaiming Conversation” book that has a lot of research on this area. Social media has changed the way conversations occur. It seems to be making people closer in a sense-when people disclose information about themselves online it makes others feel closer to them even if they really aren’t.

Wayne, T. (2015, October 09). Found on Facebook: Empathy. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from

Research blog #8

Facebook Addresses Growing Issue of Livestreamed Suicides

This article mentions Facebook’s new tool to try and prevent suicides on Facebook Live. Viewers have the option to report it.”Experts say that one of the best ways to prevent suicide is for those in distress to hear from people who care about them,” says a Facebook blog post. Once a video is flagged as “likely to include thoughts of suicide” an algorithm will be sent to a human working at Facebook and if deemed a true threat they will reach out to the person with resources.

Source #2

The disturbing trend of live-streamed suicides

“Psychologists also say suicides streaming on social media can have an effect on those who are watching.

Draper, with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, said one concern is the risk of copycat killings.”

This is very alarming to realize, people who are watching that might feel the same at the moment might believe that if this person can do it and its going to bring them relief then maybe it will do the same for me.

Facebook mentions that they do realize people use Facebook Live to share experiences that are occurring with friends and family and it does not violate their guidelines to do so, but if they do see something that does violate their community standards they will intervene and stop the live streaming of the video.

Research Blog #7

Suicide on social media a cry for help

Some South Florida psychologists say young people today have an instinctual need to record and share what happens in their lives. And these experts worry that as more of these broadcast suicides occur, there may be copycats. Friends or acquaintances struggling with their own issues may be influenced by the outpouring over the loss of another teen on social media.

Referring to a previous research blog, the 14-year-old Nakia Venant the 14-year-old from Miami that was in foster care- was said to be sexually abused by a 14-year-old boy when she was 7. This made her act out later- acting sexually on social media. She was ordered intensive care therapy because she was determined a harm to herself.

Christine Chen, a Facebook spokesperson, highlights the company’s community standards. They have recently decided to add a way to report something during a live feed so they can stop the streaming and even contact local law enforcement if needed.

Ryne Sherman a professor at Florida Atlantic University says people take other people’s behavior as a guide for their own.

More and more people are seeing these live stream Facebook/Periscope and believe that if they feel upset/depressed or can relate to the person- and that person was getting some relief, then they should follow suit so they can get that same relief.

The most interesting part of this article is realizing how often this is happening and it’s not only in America. A lady in France committed suicide in 2016 by throwing herself under a train while recording herself.

This article does not relate to any other articles but it does show it relates to Mental Health Research and Medical Research. Im not exactly sure why it doesn’t have anything linked or tagged. It does have some professors that are knowledgeable in the area but there are not any links to any studies they’ve done just statements.

It makes me want to know how many people that are committing suicide on live stream have some sort of mental illness or past that has caused them to be traumatized. A lot of the people I’ve read articles about suffer from some sort of physical or sexual abuse as well as suffering from depression. I’m wondering if there have been cases of people live streaming suicides with no history of any psychological problems. I also want to know what other cases have been found of people outside the united states have happened and why.


Research Blog #6

The Desire to Live-Stream Violence

Which raises the question: Why would someone live-stream a crime? Superintendent at Chicago PD asked this question after four African Americans decided to kidnap and torture a white male. The article says they kidnapped him and put tape over his face. The suspects also yelled “F*ck Donald Trump” and “f*ck white people”. And to top all of this off, the whole thing was recorded live on Facebook Live.

“It speaks to a kind of scary place in the culture where people are willing to expose their misled ideas, their sadism, their sexual perversion, their felonious behavior, for the accolades they’ll receive through social media,” Berrill said.

The article mentions the desire for young adults to want attention, the victims were between the ages of 18-24 fit that scenario perfectly.

Why are people live-streaming their suicides?

Live streaming suicides have gotten more popular over the years. In 2008, Abraham Biggs planned to kill himself on a body building website- a lot of viewers encouraged Biggs to take the pills he had shown on the video, thinking it wasn’t real.

The big misconception in live streaming videos are that people believe that it is a prank or that people are doing it for attention. Although live streaming videos do have some attention seeking aspects, a lot of people that talk about suicides on live stream are looking for “encouragement”.

“Naika Venant, a 14-year-old in foster care in Miami, broadcasted her suicide on Facebook Live overnight Sunday. Thousands watched as she prepared to hang herself in a video that lasted about two hours, and due to a series of tragic mistakes, emergency responders did not arrive in time to save her.” (Irby)

A 12-year-old killed herself on live video. Facebook removes it — 2 weeks later

Live video has become increasingly controversial as social media sites have encouraged use of the tool but have struggled to monitor it. This article mentions my earlier summary of the four kidnappers in Chicago. The video was eventually taken down but not before other websites had time to embed it and shared.

On December 30th, 2016, a 12-year-old named Katelyn Nicole Davis killed herself on a 40-minute live video. She said that she had been physically and sexually abused by a family member. Although the video had been taken down from Facebook, there is no way to guarantee other websites would take the video down and there was no way to force them.

Research Blog #4 “The Netflix Effect”

The Netflix effect: teens, binge watching, and on-demand digital media trends

The Netflix Effect

Studies have shown that people are becoming addicted to Netflix. “When Netflix released all fifteen episodes of a new season of Arrested Development in the summer of 2013, reports showed that approximately 10% of viewers made it through the entire season within twenty-four hours (Wallenstein).” Actual Television shows are slowly losing viewers as everyone is slowly going to Netflix, Amazon, VOD, Hulu.

Binge watching shows have become very popular, being able to watch shows continuously without having to wait a week for the next show as normal cable TV shows are set up. Preschoolers now have tablets to use to keep them occupied, seeing that “… Disney opted to make the first nine “appisodes” of Sheriff Cal lie’s Wild West available for back-to-back streaming via its mobile tablet app. The app, aimed at children aged two to seven, was released in the summer of 2012 and generated over 650 million video views for Disney over the next sixteen months (Barnes).”

This article shows that Generation Y has changed the way television shows are watched. WE tend to lean towards apps that let us continuously watch tv shows all at one time- or at our own pace- for a flat rate.

Library Adventures

I have always thought of Atkins Library as a strict quiet library like the public libraries or even the one in my old high school. I have only been to the library once during finals time with a group. Other times I would just pass through or only go into Peet’s for coffee before Adolescent Psychology class. Going in there today I felt like it was a super useful place for all different kinds of things, there are lots of tables and sofa chairs for maybe 2-3 friends getting together, there were cubicles, and also the glass enclosed group study rooms that you can book in advance for more privacy. I had used the study room and found it much more efficient then trying to study in SAC at the dining tables as we had before. Going on the second floor I found that there was a lot more noise. People were constantly shuffling around and talking to one another which was very inconvenient. I noticed a lot of people socializing, playing games, watching Netflix while on this floor which I didn’t see on the first floor. I usually study (or at least attempt to) study in my room which has a lot of distractions. Noticing how easily I got distracted simply being on the second floor didn’t make it seem like a future go to study place for me. I think my favorite place is the really cool white “SMARTBLOCK” on the first floor. It seems like it would block my view from most of the outside world which is what I need since I get distracted so easily.

Going on the libraries website I was impressed. I searched an article on depression and then used the side task bar to narrow down by subject, the subject I chose was technology and society. Unfortunately, only two articles showed up when I did this but it’s definitely a start. I also thought it was very useful for them to show us how many computers were available to use, how many study rooms there were and how to book them. The library has lots of recommendations on their homepage as well as events that are at our disposal.