A return to empathy could help curb bullying

By WKTV News

MARCY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Many believe technology like texting and social media websites is the cause of the upswing in bullying cases. But a local psychologist says it goes much deeper than cell phones and Facebook.

"Our youth today do not have the same level of empathy that the youth had in the past," said Dr. Joanne Joseph. She said cases of bullying have become more of an issue today because kids simply don't respect each other.

"The world in general has become more self-centered, more ego-oriented. There's less emphasis on your neighbor or even caring about your neighbor's needs."

Technology has become a huge part of teen culture. And while cell phones and computers help kids connect easier it also creates a sense of disconnect in their human interactions. "If I can text you, I don't have to see your face," said Joseph. "So as a result, I don't get that personal feedback."

There are groups and organizations who are trying to bring empathy back into the classroom. Roots of Empathy, based in Canada, uses simple techniques to teach children about feelings. They invite a parent and their infant into the classroom and let the students play with the baby. The students interact with the baby and identify its feelings. The group says over time, the students better understand not only their own feelings, but the feelings of others.

To see more information about Roots of Empathy, you can go to their website.


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