Can Texting Make Us Kinder?

Teens spend a lot of time texting. That’s both a reality and an opportunity. HopeLab partnered with Indiana University researcher Dr. Sara Konrath to develop Text to Connect, an empathy-building text message program. Text to Connect delivers daily text messages to teens designed to shift their attention away from themselves and onto others. Research indicates that this shift could positively impact their attitudes toward others, promoting empathy and reducing peer aggression.

You’ve Got Text!

Think of a close family member. Think about what you like about them.

Think of someone you’ve recently had trouble getting along with. Take a moment to reflect on one positive quality this person has.

For the next 30 seconds, focus on what you have in common with someone you talk to every day.

In your next conversation, pay attention to the other person’s body language to understand what they are feeling.

Think of someone close to you. Take a moment to write down why you appreciate them.

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“Cellphones can be used to disconnect us and distance us from each other, but at the same time, they’re a major global force for keeping us connected.”

Dr. Sara Konrath
Director of the Interdisciplinary Program for Empathy and Altruism Research at Indiana University

“The messages prompt people to imagine others’ feelings and experiences, and do small, kind acts every day.”

Dr. Janxin Leu
Director of Product Innovation at HopeLab

“I enjoyed the text messages that made me feel valued by my peers. I think it made me more confident and thus more friendly and approachable.”

Text to Connect User

“I love the ways that every time I got a text, no matter what it was that I was doing, I would look at my phone, and for a minute, I would be able to think about things that matter deeply to me.”

Text to Connect User