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Empathy education: ‘It’s just as important as maths or Stem subjects’ (The Irish Times)

Actor Cillian Murphy, who is involved in the NUI Galway/Unesco “activating social empathy” project, alongside students who have taken part in the project. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

The recent suicide of UK television presenter Caroline Flack shone a spotlight on online abuse and how people who are decent and mannerly to each other’s faces can often be cruel and thoughtless online.

In the wake of Flack’s death – just days before she was due to go on trial for the alleged assault of her boyfriend – both mainstream press and social media users were accused of abusing and harassing Flack and other famous figures.

The hashtag #BeKind trended on social media. Numerous hair salons have vowed never to stock gossip magazines and people were urged to look at their own online and real-life behaviour.

Does this incident highlight a problem with empathy, or are people precisely as unkind as we’ve always been? And is it time to mainstream empathy education?

Read more at The Irish Times