All this worries Sherry Turkle, a very prominent and popular analyst of computerish things, for a number of reasons. One of them is that this involvement in interconnection on a social media level somewhat paradoxically means that young people are losing the ability to empathize.
She cites a study saying that, according to standard psychological tests, there’s been a 40% drop in empathy among college students in the past 20 years.
Whether or not this can be quantified, it’s not easy to read online comments and discussions and mentally combine empathy and the Internet. (And no, emojs don’t count.)