Maintaining Empathy in the Digital Age

Did anyone else hear Anna Maria Tremonti’s interview with author and environmentalist Diane Ackerman on CBC Radio’s “The Current” on October 2nd? 

Diane Ackerman is the author of The Human Age. In her interview with Anna, Diane gives insight into how, since its inception, the human race has been changing the natural environment.  But rather than painting a picture of defeat and destruction, Ackerman outlines some of the positive effects of change and the possibilities for improving the natural world. 

One of her comments made me think of our journey in Prairie Spruce:  

“About half of college students now are testing less empathic that their predecessors. It’s thought the contact being made through screens is accounting for this, as opposed to meeting face-to-face.”

Scientists are now documenting how technology and the use of electronic devices are changing the empathic nature of the human being.  Without face-to-face interaction, we are losing our ability to relate to one another on a personal level. 

We gain a lot from our digital toys (iPads, Netflix, Audible), communication tools (Facebook, FaceTime, Twitter) and our collaborative work tools (Wiggio, Google Docs). But it is undoubtedly through our social gatherings and meetings that we forge community and maintain our empathic connections to each other.  The members of Prairie Spruce Commons are building our empathetic character every time we meet!


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