Are we becoming desensitized to tragedy?

If you haven’t noticed, social media only continues to grow stranger in its development whether it be in comedic ways like twitter turning ridiculous circumstances into inside jokes, or detrimental ways like Instagram constantly showing adolescents that they must look or act a certain way. The point being that we are starting to fully understand the benefits and downsides to social media, and those who are on it now are the first to truly see this picture.

But there’s one reoccurring type of post I’ve seen on social media that I find truly disturbing. On Monday September 12th, hip-hop/rnb artist PnB Rock was tragically gunned down at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles. Immediately following the murder, countless profiles were bombarding Rock’s girlfriend, blaming her for the death as she posted their location earlier, while other profiles were surfacing a video of Rock’s lifeless body lying on the ground, showing extremely graphic images.

Keep in mind that PnB Rock was only 30 years old and had 2 daughters, making the online presence surrounding his passing incredibly insensitive.

Only a couple of days beforehand, Queen Elizabeth II had also passed away at the age of 96. The internet reaction to this matter included two different kinds of posts, some paying their respects to the fallen queen and others finding humor in the death at Balmoral Castle. Since ours is the first internet-raised generation, we are really starting to see the side effects of this nonstop internet access, and I’m beginning to wonder whether we are becoming desensitized to death and other tragedies.

Many of us within the past two generations had access to look up on the internet whatever our minds can think of, and I feel as if this caused young people to learn about things they were not ready for at that age. The internet is no stranger to tons of gore and horrific websites, and I can’t help but feel like this significantly affected the mental health of those who watched it while they were developing.

This exposure is what has caused some young people to log on to a profile and make jokes about a celebrity death, the severity of which they do not even remotely understand. When people are growing up, they’re only used to what they’re being raised around. If young people are raised in a neighborhood that regularly exposes them to acts of violence and crime, those experiences are going to stay in their minds for the rest of their life, and sadly, can start to feel like their normal.

It is very scary that any child with internet access can be exposed to violence and heavy subjects and have these subjects ingrained in their brain forever.

Parents have tried to regulate this effect somewhat by restricting internet access, but the truth is that the dangerous side of the internet is inevitable if you’re going to use the internet at all, especially with social media platforms becoming what they have.

I asked my fellow student Anthony Lonetti if he feels he’s been desensitized by tragedies like death through the internet, he agreed that he feels this way and brought up the point that humans will see a video of an animal getting hurt and obviously be upset but, in recent instances, see our own species go through death and find the process somewhat entertaining.

I don’t know how this phenomenon will change. I can say that I think the internet would be a much better place to be if those behind the keyboards and profiles sat back for a moment and thought of empathy and selflessness.