10 Things That Are Ruining Kids Today

A new study purports to find that college kids "are about 40 percent lower in empathy" than students 20-30 years ago. The study press release blames all the usual suspects (technology, "information"), but what's really destroying the youth?

— Facebook. Study co-author Edward O'Brien says, "The ease of having 'friends' online might make people more likely to just tune out when they don't feel like responding to others' problems, a behavior that could carry over offline." See, kids today are idiots, and they can't tell the difference between that guy in student government who friends everyone, and an actual close relationship they care about. Why are they so stupid? From drinking too much ...

— Soda.
Sure, kids drank soda in the sensitive seventies and empathetic eighties. But that ambrosia was sweetened with real sugar, which has been shown to improve teens' moral fiber by 20%. Now soda has high fructose corn syrup, which turns kids into cretins — if it doesn't give them autism.

— "Extended Adolescence." In the good old days, kids went down to the mines at seven and were raising families of their own by nine. This gave them the sense of responsibility necessary to face their likely death or maiming in industrial accidents. The advent of child labor laws, banning of corporal punishment, and popularity of "college" has made kids soft. Put yours to work on the threshing machine before puberty, and they won't try to move back in with you in their twenties.

— Video games. Says study coauthor Sara Konrath, "a growing body of research, including work done by my colleagues at Michigan, is establishing that exposure to violent media numbs people to the pain of others." Especially the pain of zombies, aliens, and King Koopa.

— Vaccines. Childhood diseases used to weed out the weak, leaving only those with strong constitutions and, therefore, characters. Also, watching friends and siblings die built empathy. Luckily, Jenny McCarthy is working on a solution to this one.

— Difficulty of pronouncing years after 2000. Today's youth have been disproportionately exposed to years with ambiguous names ('aughts,' 'naughties,' 'twenty-ten' versus 'two thousand ten'). Their lack of a foundation in good old-fashioned pre-2000 nomenclature impairs their morality — after all, if you're not sure what year it is, it's okay to kick a baby in the face.

— Google. It used to be that when you didn't know something, you had to saddle up your horse, ride all the way to Washington, DC, wait eight days in the snow to get into the Library of Congress, then put on your monocle and read a whole bunch of documents with f's instead of s's in order to get your answer. All the research for the space program was actually done this way. That's why astronauts are heroes, while kids today are just lazy sacks of shit who only take ten seconds to tell you how much rocket fuel you need to get to the moon. Losers.

— Self-esteem. Somehow, despite countless studies purporting to show how cruel, narcissistic, empty-headed, and downright evil kids today are, they continue to think they are worthwhile human beings. Solution: more studies.

— Lady Gaga. She's probably involved somehow.

— Reality TV. Actually, this one might be true.

Image via Eduard Titov/Shutterstock.com.

Empathy: College Students Don't Have As Much As They Used To [EurekAlert]