Online sharing is caring: Empathy by phone

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Society is eager to punish this generation’s investment in technology, stressing that millennials spend too much time on their computer or phone and do not have enough human interaction.

Awareness of this social deficit has deterred many from being active on social media platforms.

In reality, interaction online has increased awareness of a variety of issues and has caused people to care more than some think.

Empathy is a universal human quality. It transcends language barriers and can be communicated without actually speaking the same language.

According to a 2014 study from the University of North Florida, Facebook actually encourages empathy.

Technology does not prevent the expression of empathy.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are most accessible platforms for online “trolls” or bullies to mock photos of individuals simply based on what they post.

Online anonymity makes it so much easier to be hateful online than in real life.

Anonymity fuels some people’s fire of saying hurtful things on the Internet, but at the same time, that sort of freedom also allows people to share their struggles without being singled out and can encourage some to have real discussion about controversial topics. This allows individuals the opportunity to gain stronger emotional health in their everyday lives, knowing there are people who support them and others that are going through the same situation.

For example, the hashtag campaign #BlackLivesMatter has gained international recognition through social media and quickly spread throughout mainstream media. This hashtag has helped build a political movement since the acquittal of George Zimmerman in July 2013 for the death of Trayvon Martin.

Technology is readily accessible; it provides opportunities and allows users to achieve multiple tasks, whether for business or leisure, at the same time in an efficient amount of time.

For instance, a photo is posted of a young child who survived cancer. The photo is circulated throughout different media platforms, it goes viral, praised and congratulated. Strangers can celebrate this young child’s recovery leaving positive feedback from each other.

These examples demonstrate that people are supportive through social media. Sharing a photo allowed supporters and even celebrities to express empathy for those reaching out. Sharing strengthens the human connection. Technology is the new outlet. Embrace it.