So far, we’ve unpacked a few ways technology can connect us. In part three, let’s delve into something that many ignore: how technology can build empathy.
Expand empathy. Understand the experiences of others.
Empathy is the root of human connectivity. It helps us overcome distrust and build a sense of understanding and connection with others. It creates a bond with those from whom we differ which is critical in a deeply-polarized world. In the real world, we tend to stick to what we know, among those that are most like us. But, online, we’re exposed to other points-of-views, ways of life and beliefs. This is a powerful tool…especially when it comes from friends and those we admire.
Plus, online empathy is shown to build offline empathy. Contrary to popular belief, the internet isn’t robbing us of our humanity. Oftentimes, it’s actually enhancing it. This is perhaps most notable in the heightened sense of acceptance found in people ages 18 to 34. According to a study conducted by The University of Chicago’s NORC research institute, the increased exposure to various viewpoints and lifestyles has led to a generation of young people that are much less judgmental than their parents. They’re much more accepting of others because they “live” in a diverse virtual world.