Keith Ablow | Today’s college students are a bunch of deluded narcissists

A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey,  which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults,  reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves  gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent  studying are decreasing.

Psychologist Jean Twenge, the lead author of the analysis, is also the author  of a study showing that the tendency toward narcissism in students is up 30  percent in the last thirty-odd years. This data is not unexpected.  I  have been writing a great deal over the past few years about the toxic  psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young  adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the  equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories.

On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have  hundreds or thousands of “friends.” They can delete unflattering comments. They  can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated  self-esteem. They can choose to show the world only flattering, sexy or funny  photographs of themselves (dozens of albums full, by the way), “speak” in pithy  short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and  musicians they “like.”


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