I’ve also been talking recently about how this generation of college students can’t handle any more awareness. There are so many issues to tackle, so many problems to solve, so many worthy causes that they’re almost paralyzed. What they need now is the opportunity for action. We can provide that opportunity and help college students move from awareness to advocacy to action!
A 40% drop in empathy in college students
“We found the biggest drop in empathy after the year 2000,” said Sara
Konrath, a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research.“College kids
today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of
20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality
In a related but separate analysis, Konrath found that nationally
representative samples of Americans see changes in other people’s
kindness and helpfulness over a similar time period.
“Many people see the current group of college students – sometimes called ‘Generation Me‘ – as one of the most self-centered, narcissistic, competitive, confident and individualistic in recent history,” said Konrath.
Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser
I don’t know who this study contacted, but I’m not all that sure those figures hold up with the 20somethings I’m around.
Granted, Millenials are hardly bastions of selflessness or poster children for an others orientation, but then neither were we when we were their age.
In the 37 yrs I’ve been in ministry, empathy levels have never been very high with this age group, or any other age group, for that matter.
I do agree with Kelly that Millenials are far more self aware than any previous generation, simply because of their fundamental exposure to the Internet from infancy onward.
What I HAVE observed is the overwhelming rise in dysfunction in their lives, due to the divorces, remarriages, parents living with someone, blending & unblending families, coupled with the issues brought about by abandonment, ignoring, indifference, abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, psychological), neglect, & a hundred other things.
I find many of them emotionally blunted by this life experience.
Dysfunctional lives have become the new norm, not the exception.
And people wonder why I want to minister to 20somethings?! Lots of work here for anyone who’s interested in connecting with this abused generation.
Back in the ’60’s & ’70’s, we Baby Boomers said we were gonna change the world. We did, but in the ways we thought we were
the last sentence in my comment should have read…
Back in the ’60’s & ’70’s, we Baby Boomers said we were gonna change the world. We did, but NOT in the ways we thought we were.
(at the early hour I typed that, it’s a miracle it made sense 😉
Thanks, Seth, for AIM. SO MANY of my 20something peeps are finding definition in their lives because of the experiences they have with AIM.
It’s also a generation that has grown up with (and created) a different kind of entertainment. Ridicule, embarrassment and humiliation are now entertainment. Look at some of the reality TV shows, the comedy, etc. The things that are considered “funny” have changed.
good point, Betty.
thanks, Dan. You are a model to me of what ministry to 20-somethings should look like. I love the partnership.
seth, you’re TOO kind 😉
Curious: How do you measure empathy?
Konrath conducted the meta-analysis, combining the results of 72 different studies of American college students conducted between 1979 and 2009, with U-M graduate student Edward O’Brien and undergraduate student Courtney Hsing.
Compared to college students of the late 1970s, the study found, college students today are less likely to agree with statements such as “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.”
Seth, I think the fly in the ointment with that study is that it surveys only college students. what percentage of people between the ages of 18 & 29 are or have been full time college students?
maybe my situation is different, but in the years with House of Grace here in Macon, we were overwhelmingly populated by working people. Their attitudes, no matter their age, usually was not completely in sync with people who could be classified as full time college students.
It would prove very interesting, I think, to have a cross section study of college students, military, working, & double dippers (work part time, college part time)
Sign me up! (& please, God, make a way.)
Well this is sad news but I’m grateful its not true where HPU is concerned.