By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – When you’re in the commentary business, the pressure is always there to sharpen up your opinions, inflate them with a little extra hot air, in order to make them stand out, create a stir, and attract attention.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Reason and moderation are nice, but they often don’t shine as brightly as the flashy neon of off-the-deep-end argument.

Trust me, I know.

Over the course of more than 30 years of doing this kind of thing, I’ve committed that sin more times than I care to remember, and I’m not proud of it.

But I do know it when I see it, and I saw it Wednesday in an online commentary by a well-known media psychiatrist about what he calls an epidemic of narcissism among America’s young people, the “toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults…. On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of ‘friends’…. Using Twitter, young people can pretend they are worth ‘following,’ as though they have real-life fans, when all that is really happening is the mutual fanning of false love and false fame…. Using computer games, our sons and daughters can pretend they are Olympians, Formula 1 drivers, rock stars or sharpshooters.”

The end result, this doctor argues, is that “false pride can never be sustained. The bubble of narcissism is always at risk of bursting.”

So young people will engage in substance abuse and dysfunctional behavior, all to “distract themselves from the fact that they feel empty inside and unworthy.”

Overkill alert.

I agree that our distraction-filled culture can be a dangerous drag on human development. But I see plenty of young people every day who are working hard to be productive, caring people and good citizens.

Kids have always been drawn to narcissistic fantasies, well before there were video games and the internet to help them.

As long as there are enough people of goodwill and common sense raising like-minded kids, we are going to be OK as a society, and I believe there still are.

Sorry if that doesn’t make for such provocative commentary, but hey – they can’t all be gems.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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