A Front-Row Seat for Suffering

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A Front-Row Seat for Suffering

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Technology has presented us a gift of dubious worth—the ability to see people suffering on live television from news spots almost anywhere on the planet.

We see people in pain not only in our own neighborhoods, but we have front-row seats to watch multitudes in misery all over the world. Our media-mad world makes this kind of news coverage available and sometimes almost inescapable.

Through the wandering eye of modern communication, we see the brutality of mankind in living color. We're served the horror of war in the convenience of our living rooms. We watch the depravity of twisted individuals played out on the world stage.

In recent decades the media have force-fed us with accounts of thrill killings by psychopaths. Serial killings and mass murders that once were rare now seem almost commonplace.

What is the effect on us of the persistent exposure to such decadent and depressing fare? One effect is that we mentally suffer, whether we realize it or not. Constant exposure to the rampages of deranged people is hard enough on adults, but it inflicts far greater damage on the minds of youth in their formative years.

Although it is impossible to shield our children from every unpleasant side of society, exposure to so much gratuitous violence early in life can emotionally damage them. Repeated exposure to violence—real and feigned—in news and entertainment hardens us to the real suffering of others.