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St. Benedict’s Teaches Boys Empathy in Digital Age

Advancements in technology are no longer earth-stopping events. In fact, we barely blink as computers, phones, tablets, and the internet get faster and more intuitive. But while kids seem to adapt to these changes quickly, we may not realize how much these changes affect them.

During this episode of One-on-One with Steve Adubato, the show host visits the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. While there, Adubato speaks with Ivan Lamourt, PsyD., assistant headmaster of St. Benedict’s Preparatory School. The two discuss teen bullying and abuse, and the impact both social media and technology have on kids today; and why now, more than ever, boys need to learn lessons in empathy.

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St. Benedict’s is a college prepatory school in Newark. It is an all-boys school for grades seven through twelve. It offers young men a comprehensive curriculum and prepares them for college and life beyond secondary education.

Lamourt explains that many of the children at the school are aware of, or have experience with, violence or bullying. With this in mind, part of the school’s mission is to mentor boys in compassion and empathy.

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Thanks to Hackensack Meridian Health for making this video possible

“Part of working with young men is teaching them how to have empathy and how to be vulnerable,” says Lamourt; though he admits this is very difficult. “We’re only born with a certain amount of genes that help us with empathy, but you can actually teach it. And people can grow in their ability to be empathetic towards each other. But if I am raised in this very traumatic sort of environment, of course I am going to act that out.”

Children often use technology to act out and even to bully others. In an unintended way, these new forms of communication actually make it harder for people to connect.

“The whole issue with cell phones and technology is that it’s all so disconnecting,” Lamourt tells Adubato. “Our ability to be empathetic starts right here; me being able to look at you and to feel you and to connect with you on a human level. I can’t do that via the phone.”

Lamourt says this makes it so much easier for bullies to hide; it is less likely that the bullies will face any sort of retribution.

Want to learn more about the impact technology is having on today’s youth? Check out this edition of One-on-One with Steve Adubato.

After that, click here for more stories that impact New Jersey residents.

One on One with Steve Adubato

Images: © One-on-One with Steve Adubato / Caucus Educational Corporation