A September 27, 2015 New York Times Review Article: Stop Googling: Let’s Talk discusses how young people learn in Middle School how to text while talking to someone across the table from them, and never looking down to review their text. But the review, is much deeper and offers a glimpse of what happens to all of us when a phone is present on a table, even if it is silent. It veers the conversation away from us revealing too much about ourselves and forming bonds, and instead changes the conversation to topics where people won’t mind being interrupted.
Moreover, the article further points out that in 2010, a team of researchers, led by a psychologist from the University of Michigan reviewed the findings of 72 studies performed over a 30 year period as they related to technology. They found a 40% drop in Empathy amongst college students, with the biggest decline occurring after 2000. This attack on empathy is across all generations, because when we are connected 24/7, we no more have conversations that are open-ended, spontaneous, where we are present, vulnerable and have to understand someone else’s feelings.
The trouble with talk starts when kids are young. In Middle School, children aren’t developing friendships the way previous generations have. Some faculty have described kids sitting in the dining hall just looking at their phones. When they do engage with other children, it’s showing them something on their phone.
Yet, children are resilent. They even agree when they go to camp without a phone for 4 or 5 weeks, how freeing it is. Just to be able to sit, and form ideas and begin to read facial expressions, permits their ability to be empathetic to return.
Deeds From The Heart, builds empathy when kids are young, which they then carry over to teenage years and into adulthood. Technology serves a useful purpose, but when it takes over our lives and our children’s lives, it deprives all of us of the richness of human contact and the capacity to enjoy being alone. The latter is when we can gather our thoughts, generate ideas and prepare for our discussion. Unfortunately, today’s young people do not feel comfortable with lulls in conversation, or being alone. That is why they turn to their phones so as to be in constant contact with someone, somewhere.
Deeds From The Heart breaks this cycle and moves kids into the community where they can make an impactful difference. We show them that their actions can have a powerful impact on someone else’s life. We put meaning into their life.