9/11 Affects How Young People View the News
Studies have shown how Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (commonly referred to as PTSD), not only affects the people involved in a traumatic events such as Sept 11. People who simply observe traumatic events through the media can suffer PTSD symptoms as well, according to an article in Communication DisordersQuarterly.
Though it may seem like people have forgotten about the terror they witnessed on 9/11, the ten-year anniversary has brought it to the forefront of discussion all over again. Agenda setting by the media is likely the cause, with news and updates of memorial services and monuments taking place throughout the country.
An overall feeling of fear, sadness, and confusion blanketed the country for months following that fateful Tuesday. Though the attacks were targeted at a few specific landmarks, theUnited Statesas a whole was saddened as they watched the events unfold from their living rooms.
David Gray, a sophomore atSoutheasternLouisianaUniversity, recalls feeling helpless as he learned of the events. “I was a kid, and it’s not like it was in my backyard or anything. What could I have done about something like that?” he said.
As if the feeling of helplessness wasn’t enough, people were able to simply log on to their web browser to view the constant updates, articles, video footage, and firsthand accounts of virtually everything related to that day for weeks afterward, only to remind them it wasn’t just a bad dream.
It wasn’t difficult to find out more as time went on, with officials gathering more information as the weeks passed. As with any crisis, the general public kept a more vigilant eye on the news, desperate for more details. Some people confess to immersing themselves in it, literally keeping the news in the background at home, work, and in the car.
According to a study performed by Mohan Dutta-Bergman, respondents who followed news more closely in response to the attacks of 9/11 were significantly more likely to be depressed than those respondents who did not follow the news more closely in response to the attacks. The study also revealed the more depressed people got over the events, the more inclined they were to seek out more news coverage. This seemed to be a perpetuating cycle for a period of time following the day of the attacks.
However, not everyone cared to keep up with the events after the attacks initially occurred. Gray said he never has been one to regularly keep up with the news unless it was “something that directly affects me or something I could actually do something about.”
One young man found the constant replaying of the mages of that day jaded his outlook and feelings about other disasters which occurred after Sept 11.
“The magnitude of that event…it almost desensitizes the American public. It was just horrific, seeing people willing to jump out of the windows the way they did. I’ll tell you, on the news this morning I heard about a plane in Russia that crashed and killed forty-three people. It’s awful…but compared to 3,000…it just doesn’t seem as big of a deal,” said Chris Scofield, one of the ministers of Fundamental Baptist Church in Livingston, La.