Who could have guessed that reminding kids how special they are at every turn would have unhappy consequences?

Imagine a country populated by the teenagers in “Six Degrees of Separation.”

Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society…

The researchers describe their study as the largest ever of its type and say students’ NPI scores have risen steadily since the current test was introduced in 1982. By 2006, they said, two-thirds of the students had above-average scores, 30 percent more than in 1982…

The researchers traced the phenomenon back to what they called the “self-esteem movement” that emerged in the 1980s, asserting that the effort to build self-confidence had gone too far…

The study asserts that narcissists “are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors.”…

“Current technology fuels the increase in narcissism,” Twenge said. “By its very name, MySpace encourages attention-seeking, as does YouTube.”…

Campbell said the narcissism upsurge seemed so pronounced that he was unsure if there were obvious remedies.

I’ve got a ton of blogworthy stuff in the pipe so I’ll leave it to you guys to extrapolate about blue- versus red-state parenting models, future voting patterns, demographics, etc etc. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the not-at-all narcissistic clip of a UNC student breaking up with his girlfriend in front of a huge crowd of people that’s gone nuclear at YouTube. It was revealed today to be a hoax, just as the viral bridezilla clip from last month was. If we have to put up with a generation of attention-hungry camera whores, at least we’ll get some entertainment out of it.

The language here is oh so blue, so please observe your official strong content warning.