Generation Me – Missing Empathy

The Sunday Times had an interesting parenting page talking about The Empathy Gap in young adults.

As a traditional secretary/PA, I see that excellent communication skills, good grammar, and strong understanding of empathy is still important in today’s society. Holding a conversation and properly listening to a person is paramount. This article gave a description of teenagers, Generation Me, and how the majority of face to face communication (chatting/talking) appears to be second to staring at a mobile phone screen.

You often see this with adults too, couples sitting in the pub, preferring to stare and interact with their mobile phones rather than having a two way, eye to eye, conversation. Maybe they’re sending texts to each other instead!

Has technology made us so egotistical to think the world rotates around our mobiles with the chance that someone may send us a text, email or twitter post that requires our urgent attention?

Has meeting for a coffee with friends and having a good conversation become second to talking on the phone or sending a text message? Understanding that human physical contact is part of our DNA, body language, being able to read the other person visually, facial expressions that give so much more when chatting face to face.

For myself the word ‘balance’ comes into play. A bit like the phrase “eating a balanced diet”. We must carry out and teach a balanced attitude to technology in our everyday communications. For those people who work solitary from home and don’t get to see an adult face for eight hours, meeting for a coffee and chatting with a real person has such a massive impact on how we feel too.

If your children or teenagers see you constantly attached to your mobile phone, giving it such importance, doesn’t this behaviour give them the authority to do the same?

Being deprived of human contact can really skew how we interact with people and decrease our confidence. We lose out on those magical conversations and being able to give someone a big hug.

So, next time you go for a walk or visit the supermarket, leave your mobile phone at home. Or when a friend comes around for coffee at your home, put your mobile in another room so you won’t be distracted. Isn’t it important to give them your full and divided attention? Be kind and show some empathy.