Is Declining Empathy Technology’s Fault?

Cyberbullying and narcissism can be side effects of social media, but it and other new technologies can also expand compassion. By Sara Konrath

 

We are at the dawn of an era of powerful new tools, which, like many tools, can be used to build or to destroy. Cyberbullying and narcissism can be side effects of social media, but social media and other new technologies can also help us to expand our compassion. In fact this will be the main focus of the Compassion and Technology Conference at Stanford University this December. The prosocial potential of new media is underexplored compared to its darker aspects. But it’s worth understanding whether the same technologies that are blamed for declining empathy can also be part of the solution.