Smartphone Use Kills Empathy

In this week’s Ministry Briefing, the results of our over-dependence on smartphones:

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.

Source: Church Mag

Why does this matter 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?

Ministry Briefing helps church leaders save time and lead betterMinistry Briefing subscribers receive a weekly curated list of the 40 most important church-related stories of the week, summarized with the original link (like what you see above). We keep church leaders abreast of cultural trends, stocked with new sermon illustrations, and save them time so they can focus on what really matters. 

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About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.