Technology offers conveniences and opportunities prior generations would be envious to enjoy. Or would they? As we live in a world that is in a permanent state of connectivity, we must find a balance between our digital experiences and authentic human interactions. How do we interact with social media, digital devices and technological advances in order to foster thriving communities and navigate complexity with biblical clarity?

In Today’s Conversation, Felicia Wu Song, a cultural sociologist of media and digital technologies, talks with NAE President Walter Kim to answer this question and discuss technological impacts on the human experience.

They also review:

  • The potential of technology to isolate us from genuine human connection;
  • How digital connectivity is not just a challenge for younger generations;
  • How our digital habits are discipling us away from the kingdom of God; and
  • The importance of setting boundaries when it comes to technology.

Read a Portion of the Transcript

Walter: You are saying [technology] is impacting our ability to have empathy? How is that working out? Because the implications of those are huge for human relationships.

Felicia: A part of the neurological aspect of empathy that I find particularly interesting is the way in which empathy is cultivated out of a part of our brain that we actually don’t let breathe and live out its capacity very often because it’s the part of our brain that “turns on when we are bored,” when we’re not doing anything, when we’re not filling our minds with stimulation or information or getting something done. It’s that part of the brain that is dedicated to creating self-narrative for reflection.

That sounds all very scientific, but we all know this. We’ve had a conversation with someone during the day, maybe you had a conflict and then you’re just driving home thinking about it or you’re in the shower and you’re not even thinking about it, but there’s this thought that just comes to you it’s like, “Oh, maybe this is what they meant, like I took them to say this in a different way.”

It’s because our brains when we are showering or when we’re driving is shifting into a different modality, and it’s actually neurologically bound up in our capacity to empathize. When we are constantly on our phone, when we are constantly being stimulated by Netflix or reading the news, that part of our brain is not activating and so we aren’t actually engaging in the empathy work. It’s not even getting a chance to blossom and grow.

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