How to Increase Empathy in the Digital Era
Live Happy, Amy Blankson
October 22, 2017
These apps and websites make it easy to spread positivity online.
If we want empathy to stem the tide of online negativity, we need to fight fire with fire, by using online social influence to overpower the loud, squeaky wheels on message boards. Leveraging social influence is about increasing the strength and number of sources for a particular idea, like creating empathy. For instance, by simply watching and positively rating good content on the web, you send a powerful message to content creators and increase its visibility for others. To that end, here are some of my favorite online outlets for increasing empathy:
For all ages:
- Humans of New York: This app showcases a catalogue of photos along with the stories behind New York City inhabitants with the intent of raising a greater sense of empathy.
- Soul Pancake: Watch inspiring, hilarious videos where people talk about stuff that really matters, such as spirituality, religion, death, love, life’s purpose and creativity.
- Seize Your Moments: Peruse 10,000 beautiful “moments” collected from strangers by Dutch activist and world traveler Janne Willems, who uses art to inspire a global movement of trust, kindness and happiness.
- The Good Cards: This real-life game combined with an app was created to inspire people to spread happiness, one act of kindness at a time.
- BrainPop: Explore a suite of videos, lessons and games—all focused on teaching digital etiquette online.
- Random App of Kindness (RAKi): This app was designed to increase empathy in teens using scientifically backed, interactive games.
- Common Sense Media: Browse an entire search engine of curated apps and games designed to teach empathy, divided into age-specific categories.
Apps and websites such as these remind us that technology can be a magnifier, a force for positive change—but only if we choose to make that happen. The same technology that is used for bullying can now be used to lend a helping hand or a listening ear. For all the distractions, dangers and frustrations that current technologies bring into our lives, they can also be used for our highest purposes. This is the future of happiness, and it’s up to us to create it.