four people on seashore

Empathy is one of the greatest gifts that we, as humans, can have. It is the emotional bond that connects us with our family members and friends. While the way we express our empathy towards others may be different, the goal is always the same: acknowledging the vulnerability of who you are talking to, listening to what they have to say, and showing your support (Adichie). Expressing empathy currently can be extremely difficult as we are confined to technology as our primary form of communication; however, our society’s creative nature has found ways to counter our restrictions and show support. 

One example of this creativity comes from hospitals. Every day people are diagnosed with cancer. A diagnosis can be one of the scariest moments for the person as well as their loved ones. Although they can communicate their struggles, it is hard for families to understand the feelings of their loved ones entirely. Similarly, it is also hard for doctors to help cure the disease when they cannot understand a patient’s symptoms. Treatment all changed when doctors started using Virtual Reality (VR).

The new technology commonly used when playing video games can now simulate different disease symptoms that may impede eyesight. A study of this technology reported that “60 percent of physicians said that it [Virtual Reality] had changed the way they would view and treat patients suffering from side effects of ongoing chemotherapy” (Wiederhold 577). During the times of Covid-19, technology is being used for families to communicate with their sick loved ones.

By providing patients with an iPad to talk to their families, they can speak to their families about their feelings. Subsequently, allowing patients to talk to others is also known to “ease the workload of a medical team” (Hafner). Although using technology is not the ideal form of contact, the new ways to stay connected allow empathy in relationships to stay connected from a distance.  

Works Cited

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. “The Danger of a Single Story.” TED, July 2009, 

Hafner, Katie. ‘A Heart-Wrenching Thing’: Hospital Bans on Visits Devastate Families. 29 Mar. 2020, 

Riva, Giuseppe, et al. “Positive Technology and COVID-19.” Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 8 Sept. 2020, 

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October 30, 2020 8:14 pm

Dear Maggie,

Your post about empathy in times of restriction was really interesting, especially as it is something that is affecting most of us currently during this global pandemic. The positive perspective you took writing this blog post was really enlightening and captivating to read about as well, which is a part of the reason I enjoyed it so much. Your take on technology specifically, in regards to the numerous ways of staying in touch with family members, classmates, and friends, was very insightful and gave a lot of information about the importance of communication and reaching out to others during such restricting times. I especially liked the ending line, “Although using technology is not the ideal form of contact, the new ways to stay connected allow empathy in relationships to stay connected from a distance,“ which displayed the vitality in showing empathy during tough times. Apart from the empathy aspect we are able to show through technology, often, many negative connotations are associated with technology. This line emphasizes the importance of technological devices, such as iPads, like you mentioned earlier in the post.

Personally, as someone who lives far away from other family relatives, staying in touch is proving to be rather difficult, especially because of the current pandemic, however the use of technology, such as being able to make calls on your phone, is a simple, yet effective way to stay in touch and express empathy. Being able to speak to others helps us understand and relate to them, especially if we are able to from a distance.

Again, I really enjoyed reading this post! You captured the importance of empathy in challenging times, whilst giving suggestions, such as communicating with others through technology. I look forward to reading your other posts. Keep writing!

October 30, 2020 6:54 pm

Maggie, the way you defined empathy as the one of the greatest gifts that humans can have inspires me to think more about the empathy I have towards others. I liked how you explained that we especially need to show empathy when someone is in a time of need, whether it is a physical need or a mental/emotional need. I can also relate your information about empathy in hospitals to empathy in other situations people face daily.

October 30, 2020 4:46 am

Dear Maggie,
I am inspired by your post because of the stance you took regarding technology and its impacts on empathy in our present society. Technology and social media often carry a negative connotation when considering personal interactions and sociability now. Your post gave a refreshing and necessary vision of its helpful outcomes.

One thing that stands out to me is when you say “allowing patients to talk to others is also known to ‘ease the workload of a medical team’.” I think this is an intelligent and considerate addition to your focus on empathy. Technology is providing new opportunities for the patients that would otherwise be impossible under present circumstances, but furthermore, it eases some of the responsibility of those trying to take care of them.

Your post reminds me of something that happened to me. Once, my godfather was deployed for a longer period of time than he ever had before. My family and I would have extremely limited knowledge of what was going on where he was, and the months he would be gone would hold countless moments we’d give anything to have him be a part of. Having the ability to call him, though, and communicate with him anyway, helped us understand the responsibility he was undertaking and the love that was at the root of it all.

Thank you for your project. I look forward to seeing what you write next because I appreciate the optimism you radiated in this piece. Your language ties everything together beautifully and makes me want to keep reading. I hope to see more on your understanding of empathy and anything of the like!

October 30, 2020 3:21 am

Maggie, I really enjoyed reading your post and found it very interesting! I really like how you focused on the positive impact that technology has had on empathy, especially the ability to further communicate through technological advances. I have always assumed that technology would have more of a negative impact on empathy, as it seems to be harder to form actual personal relationships with people in person because of technology, which therefore makes it more difficult to empathize with others. I really appreciate that you opened my eyes to the positive affects technology have had on empathy, especially during these uncertain times. You also did a very good job on showing how this is currently affecting people today!

October 29, 2020 6:08 pm

Maggie, I really like how you make the point that everyone is different in regards to how we express our empathy and that despite these differences, we all have the same goal: showing vulnerability. It is important to realize that everyone has the ability to show empathy and vulnerability. I also liked how you connected empathy to creativity in society. This just shows that people are willing to do whatever it takes to show support for those struggling and will find a variety of ways to help them. Showing support for those who are having a hard time is a key aspect for connecting with the people around us.

October 29, 2020 5:15 pm

I really enjoyed reading this! I think it gives a different perspective on the struggles cancer patients face, in general and dealing with COVID-19. I like the idea that using technology can help them physically and mentally in their fight. The doctors can help identify and treat their symptoms using virtual reality. And the patients can feel mentally safe while communicating with their loved ones in a challenging time.

October 29, 2020 5:05 pm

Maggie, I really enjoyed reading your post. I found it very interesting how you related empathy to technology in saying, “ Expressing empathy currently can be extremely difficult as we are confined to technology as our primary form of communication; however, our society’s creative nature has found ways to counter our restrictions and show support.” I liked how you expressed that people can still show empathy in times like these even when they may not be able to speak with others face to face. Technology is a major form of communication today, and it can be difficult to express empathy while only using technology. I liked how you gave specific examples of how creativity can form new outlets for people to express empathy towards others despite certain challenges.

October 27, 2020 10:10 pm

I agree with your point that the way we express empathy is continuously evolving as society adjusts to new problems such as coronavirus. I also like that you identified a specific way how people are adapting and expressing empathy through technology. The example of technology being used in hospitals gives the reader insight into things that are currently happening.

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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