The average adolescent is spending greater than 7 hours/day involved with Electronic Media (EM). If they are involved in electronic gaming they are slowly becoming inured to carnage. They witness or partake in the murder of hundreds of thousands of e-People over the years. A report from the official Journal of Pediatrics finds a real downside to over immersion in EM. They report that one perpetrator of a lethal school shooting never shot a real gun before his killing spree. Yet he had accurate and deadly aim form his experience in first person shooter games. In addition in a number of other shooter events the perpetrator was found to be invested in one aspect or another of EM to the exclusion of almost all real time relationships. This along with the avatar goes a long way to the blurring of reality and the identification with the powerful fantasy.
It’s hard to miss the news stories. Elliot Rodger went on a shooting spree in Santa Barbara killing 7 people. There had been mention of his participation in an online hate chat room that bashed young people that were successful in the dating world. His posts reveal someone deeply distressed and bolstered in his resentments by a supportive group of strangers. Isolation and hatred find support in online chat rooms. Did this chat room lead to the eventual rampage? I wouldn’t go that far. However, I do believe he gathered the support that overcame any reluctance he might have had. At least, it did nothing to ease the situation. And sadly, it certainly didn’t develop any social skills despite it being ironically referred to as a part of Social Media.