The L.A. times and MSNBC report that the Childhood Self-esteem movement of the 1980s has backfired in a big way. UCSD Psychology Researcher Jean Twenge in her paper "Egos Inflating Over Time" (cached) compared studies of 16,000 college students taken over 25 years, and found that almost two-thirds of recent college students had narcissism scores above the 1982 level. The study says Narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others. They "are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors."
It began with Nursery schools teaching children the song: "I am special, I am special. Look at me." But "Current technology fuels the increase in narcissism," Twenge says, "By its very name, MySpace encourages attention-seeking, as does YouTube." Sociology Major Laura Rantala reflects "We all have our own cellphone and iPod with which we're doing our own thing in our own little world". It's become cool not to care. Is this you?
Can the current trend in Narcissistic Technology be reversed? Are we going to become a world of self-absorbed, self-promoting shopaholics who care about nothing but themselves? With the Internet pervasive in our everyday life, has it become unstoppable?