Importance Of Teaching Empathy: How Can Technology Teach Kids Some Of The Most Significant Social-Emotional Skills?

By KJ Williams, Parent Herald October 31, 07:45 am
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Teaching empathy reportedly contributes to the overall cognitive progress and improvement in children of all ages.
(Photo : Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for generationOn)

In a world suffused with hate and violence, some can't help but wonder if empathy still exists. Hence, experts and educators alike are encouraging parents to start teaching their children empathy at a young age as the sooner they understand what it means and its importance, the sooner they live a more peaceful existence.

So, what exactly is empathy? According to Collective Evolution, empathy is the "awareness of the feelings and emotions of other people" in which a person thinks first before they speak or act. Empathy also promotes the outlook of having respect and treating others as you want to be treated yourself.

Teaching empathy, however, is not easy. But once a child displays empathy, the less likely he or she is going to become a bully and more likely to share with and help others. Empathetic kids are also not antisocial and won't exhibit uncontrolled aggressive behaviors.

With that said, educators are devoting more attention to teach empathy in recent years. Thanks to the new technological application called ClassDojo, which has recently expanded into developing content to help children learn the most significant social-emotional skills through an animated video series in collaboration with Harvard on Empathy, teachers and parents now have a technological reinforcement when it comes to teaching empathy.

ClassDojo, the communication app for the classroom, connects teachers, parents and students through sharing of photos, videos and messages of the great moments they had at school every day, ClassDojo's Lindsay McKinley wrote in an email sent to Parent Herald. For their Empathy series, ClassDojo collaborated with Harvard University's Making Caring Common Project to create a three-episode video series about empathy, which could boost a student's social-emotional skill.

Meanwhile, just like educators, parents could also cultivate empathy in children. According to Harvard University's Making Caring Common Project, empathy is "at the heart of what it means to be human" and it includes giving importance to other people and perspective.

The project also outlined five guidelines on how parents could cultivate empathy. It includes empathizing with children, making caring a priority and setting high ethical values, providing opportunities to practice empathy, expanding a child's circle of concern and helping kids develop self-control and to effectively manage their feelings.

Aside from being a standard grown-up social skill, TeachHub reveals that empathy equals intelligence. As per several studies, socio-emotional learning such as being empathetic contributes to the overall cognitive progress and improvement in children of all ages.

So, do you agree that teaching empathy is important in young kids? Share your thoughts below and check out Parent Herald for more news and updates.

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