Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Empathy and Bullying

What is it that allows Social Media to be used for bullying?  I have argued that Social Media is not a bad thing, and I stick to that.  However, I have been thinking more about the stories that I posted on Good Friday.  One factor which I believe has to be there is a lack of empathy.  If the persecutors and those who supported them had empathy they surely would not be able to do this unless there were some other factor.  That other factor might be peer pressure - but why does this only ever seem to be present in unpleasant cases?  Where is the peer pressure to do something good?

Is there something about our current society which is decreasing the amount of empathy about?  Whilst I have not been one for censorship I do wonder whether violent video games numb the senses - but we also spend an increasing amount of time alone - how are we going to learn empathy if we do not spend time with other people finding out how they actually feel?

Similarly I hadn't realised that I was anti advertising, but this is the second post (first one here) in which I question the impact that the advertising driven consumerism has on us.  It is all about ME!  And who cares about anyone else.

I am starting to sound like Mary Whitehouse, someone I thought was a terrible advert for Christianity when I was younger.  What might perhaps will stop me falling too far in that direction is that I don't think censorship is the answer.  If Jesus came to bring life in all its fullness then perhaps the best way to deal with this is to model something better - after all, I am not convinced that the people doing these things are happy.

1 comment:

  1. Bullies use any and all media and opportunity. Social media are simply the latest way to do it.

    As a church, we're still so very bad at recognising bullying behaviours in our midst. Do we even know what bullying is? I think we tend to think of it as "something other people do, elsewhere" or as something involving direct name-calling or direct violence. But the most damaging forms of bullying are often shown to be ostracism, neglect, exclusion, refusing to allow 'people we don't like' to access things. And as a church I'm afraid we do that all the time, and justify it by saying that as a group we all agree we don't like that person, therefore of course it's OK to do it.

    I've lived it and every form of it, inside and outside the church, as a disabled person: from being banned from a church group for being autistic, through to being systematically ignored for month after month, to violence, to sexual abuse, to name-calling, to being told I have no soul and am not even a person. I try to make a difference through the work I do, but as a church culture we're often so very far from where we need to be.

    Much to do, for me, and for everyone else. But God is good. We'll get there.



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