The popularity of cell phones are driving a striking decline in empathy as more regular users are missing out on the benefits of in-person conversations. Couples are writing via text messages rather than conversing in real person, families spend time “together” but on their phones, and job applicants struggle in interviews after writing excellent letters. The use of smartphones isn’t just cutting into our time, they’re cutting into our ability to connect with each other.
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Why this matters for church leaders:
Church leaders need to be aware of any threats to their empathy in order to minister effectively, but as they seek to counsel their congregation and support their spiritual growth, they need to know the kind of impact that technology is having.
- Reclaiming the Conversation: In this new book by Sherry Turkle, we learn that research reveals young people are relying too much on text messages and aren’t developing interpersonal skills and, worst of all, aren’t developing empathy because of this missing face-to-face interaction.
- Marriages and Angry Text Messages: The down side of technology appears to be showing up the most in the context of marriages where couples rely on text messages rather than having a discussion.
- Addressing the Impact of Technology: Pastors have an important role in both setting their own boundaries with technology and helping others do the same. Are there ways your staff and your family can model better cell phone habits?
How can you help your congregation through these challenges presented through smartphones?
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