A sickening incident occurred in Florida last week that has us hoping it turns out to be a hoax.
Since the state attorney has gotten involved, it appears it is true. Five teenagers saw a man drowning in a lake, but instead of using their cell phones to call for help, they recorded the man’s cries for help and his eventual death.
How did these three teens become so desensitized to someone else’s distress that they could not only stand and observe but mock the victim?
It would be easy, as many are likely to do, to blame video games, our smartphone obsessed culture or even U.S. President Donald Trump’s setting an example of a supreme lack of empathy.
In truth, it probably has something to do with all of these things. And we’re not going to solve them here, but video games do not turn children into monsters, and smartphones connect you, they don’t remove you from society, at least not by themselves.
Blaming any of these things is a cop out. It’s so easy to point a finger and say, this one thing caused it. Then you can go on your way, smug in the belief that none of us has a share in the cause.
Because video games do desensitize people to violence and to some extent, people are watching life through screens.
But we have encouraged it, by allowing the level of graphic violence to grow to unparalleled levels in video games, then allowing them to be played by children, instead of being restricted to adults.
As for smartphones, like any invention it is the use we put them to that makes the difference. As adults, we can set an example of using these tools as an aid in connecting ourselves to friends, information, and more, or we can set an example of using them to exclude the world and automatically filming everything we see rather than responding.
It is society’s responsibility to shape our youth. In the case of these five teens, society failed miserably.