With the scenes of violence, teens see on TV/ movies, social media, possibly their homes, and even in their schools, it has now become very common for people to not have any kind of adverse reaction to seeing horrifying scenes in real life or on screen. With school shootings becoming more frequent and since the Covid-19 pandemic, many teens out there have had their fair share of traumatic experiences. The last few years since 2020 have been hard and mind-numbing for many, which could lead to worse impacts on teens' mental health in the long run.
That mind-numbing feeling you get after having a traumatic experience is a normal way for your brain to process what you're seeing throughout the day, but it is also one that shouldn't become part of your normal routine. In the first three months of 2023, the number of mass shootings that happened at schools had already doubled and those two years of isolation during the pandemic led to more teens becoming attached to the internet and watching tons of TV/Movies because, whether they realize this or not, humans are meant to be around others, and when those human interactions are being replaced with characters on a screen it can lead to more people living in this constant state of mindnumbing ness which causes them to have more blunted emotional reactions.
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School, for many students, was one of the places in this world where they could feel safe, but with the ever-increasing rate of school shootings with 23 school shootings that resulted in injuries or deaths this year alone, not many students can say that, to be true anymore, and some coping mechanisms that many people use during these times of fear are to either become so desensitized to what you're experiencing that your body doesn't feel that pain at that moment or to distract yourself using funny jokes and memes because for many hearing on the news about another mass shooting is just another unfortunate part of life that has unfortunately become so normalized to hear about that many people don't realize the harmful effects their mental health is facing from normalizing these incidents.
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We now live in a culture that thrives off of 30-second videos and laughable memes, but with that also comes difficulty connecting with others on more serious topics. Having meaningful real-life human interactions where you get to connect with other people who are facing or have faced a similar tragedy is a vital act to helping people overcome tragedy.
But in recent years, many teens seem to be more attached to their phones and social media, which may hinder their ability to emotionally connect with others when something tragic happens. The more often that a person sees or hears about bad things happening on the news or on social media, the more their brain starts to believe that these instances are normal, which in turn can make a person less empathetic to others' pain.
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Even for example, just recently when pop singer Bebe Rexa had a cell phone thrown at her while on stage at her concert, the person who threw the phone at her said that the reason why they did it is because they thought it would be funny. This just further proves how less sensitive to violence people have become, so much to the point where some individuals are willing to inflict violence onto others just because they don't view what they're doing as something serious or harmful but instead as something done to bring attention onto themselves or create entertainment.
That emotional numbing feeling you get when you're desensitized to violence can lead to a person developing more violent behavior. Because desensitization lowers people's emotional reactions to traumatic events, it can also damage how they view certain acts of violence as a whole.
The world of the internet has led to many people becoming a lot more bold than they were in past years, openly expressing hatred towards others and also showing a lack of empathy for others' struggles or pain. Social media has given people many more opportunities to not show as much sympathy towards others.
But an important fact that people still need to remember is that the thumbs typing behind those screens are real people who have feelings and lives outside of social media, that deserve to be treated like basic human beings. And showing others empathy and dismantling the layers of desensitization that are around the internet is the first step that ensures all people get that.