You Can Now Watch War Live On Facebook, But Should You?

Maybe you shouldn’t “like” this

Image via Facebook

In anticipation of an Iraqi and Kurdish military operation to reoccupy Mosul (which is currently controlled by ISIS), two news outlets began streaming the confrontation live on Facebook for anyone to view. Starting early Monday morning, U.K.-based Channel 4 News and Al-Jazeera live streamed the battle as captured by Kurdish media organization, Rudaw. U.S. forces are on the ground and plan to back Iraq’s push to reclaim the city with air strikes, Mashable reports, although the U.N. has repeatedly warned military leaders of the deadly consequences an operation of this magnitude could have on civilians.

This is a first for digital war coverage and many are questioning whether it’s a good idea or an alarming indicator of our cultural desensitization to violence. Outpacing the bizarre sensation of watching a war unfold in real time is the ability to like, comment on the event, or react with an emoticon just as with any other benign Facebook post. Some users have voiced their concern for the spectacle of live streaming war on social media while many others have expressed being deeply unsettled by it.

Unsurprisingly, there is ample evidence to suggest watching acts of war can be detrimental to the mental health of civilians. Since the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, American culture has been imbued with wartime fear, thanks to startling headlines and the Bush administration’s heavily used battle metaphors (i.e., the “war on terror” and “global war on terrorism.”) As Scientific American points out, terms like these simplify complex problems and instill a sense of fear that can be paralyzing and even damaging. It’s hard to imagine how watching a war broadcasted live can instill the kind of empathy and depth of understanding required to eliminate prejudice-fueled terrorism.

Even while far from the front lines, experiencing war can have long-term effects for those exposed. A study written by coauthors R. Srinivasa Murthy and Rashmi Lakshminarayana and published in the journal World Psychiatry stressed the importance of prioritizing mental health care in times of war, stating, “There is no doubt that the populations in war and conflict situations should receive mental health care as part of the total relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction processes.” According to the study, women are more vulnerable to wartime’s psychological consequences than men; however, across the board an increased exposure to trauma directly correlates with an increased level of psychiatric problems.

As we wade deeper into an era of conflict, it’ll be up to us to decide how we’ll strike a balance between staying informed, staying sane, and avoiding the exploitation of our world’s most vulnerable populations.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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The Planet

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

via Found Animals Foundation / Flickr

Service dogs are true blessings that provide a wide array of services for their owners based on their disability.

They can provide preventative alerts for people with epilepsy and dysautonomia. They can do small household tasks like turning lights on and off or providing stability for their owners while standing or walking.

For those with PTSD they can provide emotional support to help them in triggering situations.

However, there are many people out there who fraudulently claim their pets are service or emotional support animals. These trained animals can cause disturbances in businesses or on public transportation.

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