Pakistan is struggling with floods and post-flood crises as millions continue to suffer. Strangle the response from within Pakistan has not been as overwhelming as it has been in the past every time a calamity hit the country. NGOs and volunteers, and even the government, have been working to tackle the overwhelming situation, it’s been business as usual for the rest of Pakistan. It is quite surprising to see the lack of enthusiasm and emotion from the majority of Pakistanis regarding the floods, especially since it was classified as one of the most charitable countries in 2018. We have seen what Pakistanis can do when it comes to helping their own. Take the 2005 earthquake in which more than 80,000 people were killed, hundreds of thousands injured, and hundreds of thousands displaced, the response seems to be very mellow. Pakistanis gave their all. What has changed seventeen years later? How has the most charitable country become indifferent? The magnitude of the calamity is once again huge. According to the UN, “Around 33 million people, including approximately 16 million children, have been affected by this year’s heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan…. more than 7.9 million people have been temporarily displaced”. The flood has left a long-lasting trail of problems that will take years to overcome. It will take the efforts of all political and non-political forces to work together to get things straight and to make a workable strategy to plan. The media – traditional and new – enjoyed the profits of the thriving digital economy as viewing time and viewership increased. However, there seems to be no interest from the people of Pakistan to help those who have been badly affected. One could say that the constant political turmoil in the country during the last 10 months has been the reason, as the country’s most popular leader has been rocking the political boat. He should not be creating constant turmoil in the country at this time, especially with the sheer number of affectees (votes) being affected. He should play better politics and understand that his actions will not hurt the government but the governed for whom he believes and repeatedly claims he is the messiah. But he is not the only reason for the lukewarm reaction from the country. There is another very serious problem plaguing the people of the country because of which, they are unable to focus on humanity and civic duty. The plague they are inflicted with is social media. Yes, you read right, social media is largely responsible for their lack of empathy. It took several decades to numb our sensitivities, but it has finally happened. Are we fast headed towards becoming an apathetic country? The symptoms are there as we are all glued to our screens, oblivious to what is happening around us. We are all contracting into a virtual bubble where there is nothing to irritate us. People of all ages spend hour after hour looking at the screen, going through the motions that were once known as life. And during the long hours looking at a screen, we are consuming all kinds of content from cute animals and babies to bloody and dismembered bodies. We have become desensitized and now the most “extra”-graphic and shocking-footage does not shock us. The more gruesome, the better. Remember when the majority was repelled and deeply moved by graphic images? But over the years, graphic and gory footage and images began automatically normalised and we all began craving more to get that kick or shock that humans love. The riskier the better – amused parks? The media – traditional and new – enjoyed the profits of the thriving digital economy as viewing time and viewership increased. Less than four decades ago, a few people tried watching a limited series released on video tapes titled “Faces of Death” which claimed the footage was of real gruesome events like executions, suicides, etc. The footage didn’t attract a wide audience merely because people still lived a real life, and experienced real sensations and emotions and not stimuli in augmented reality. This was a time when people were afraid of horror movies – like Friday the 13th; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Child’s Play; Scream; I know what you did last summer; Evil Dead and Blair Witch Project made people jump – which seem extremely juvenile and fake now. Although the desensitization process was slow it had become and would gain momentum in the 2000s, as reality shows pushed boundaries and exposed viewers to extreme violence. Violent images began becoming normalized as people became immune to gore and blood, increasing their morbid fascination with death and pain. Images coming of the floods are enough to wrench one’s heart but these are not making an impact on the majority of the desensitized viewers. People watch video after video, shifting through to find a new image to watch and then sharing it with followers, friends, and family without remorse. Is social media dehumanizing people, turning them into content cannibals who want more and more tears, blood, bodies, and misery online? Do we need to hit the restart button and try to save what little humanity is left in us or is it too late? The writer is a journalist who writes on gender, human rights, social issues, and climate. She is currently working as IFJ’s Pakistan’s Gender Coordinator and Media Trainer.