Can a Video Game Boost Empathy in Kids? 

Research suggests that a video game can change the brain and help adolescents recognize emotions.
Richard Davidson, director of the Center, explains that empathy is the first step in a sequence that can lead to prosocial behavior, such as helping others in need.

“If we can’t empathize with another’s difficulty or problem, the motivation for helping will not arise,” says Davidson, who led the research team. “Our long-term aspiration for this work is that video games may be harnessed for good and if the gaming industry and consumers took this message to heart, they could potentially create video games that change the brain in ways that support virtuous qualities rather than destructive qualities.” 

Gregor R. Szycik1, Bahram Mohammadi, Thomas F. Münte and Bert T. te Wildt — Lack of Evidence That Neural Empathic Responses Are Blunted in Excessive Users of Violent Video Games: An fMRI Study. Front. Psychol., 08 March 2017 |

Violent games don’t affect empathy, new study finds

"They were also presented evocative images designed to provoke an emotional and empathetic response. After, this the results were compared to a control group of non-gamers. The findings surprised researchers, going against their initial hypothesis: both gamers and non-gamers had similar neural responses to the emotionally provocative images. In other words, playing the violent games did nothing to dim their empathic response. This contradicts the classic belief that violent games reduce our empathy and make us more prone to violent responses."

UNB students battle childhood anxiety with empathy game
In the game, Guide, children learn about empathy and self-empowerment
By Viola Pruss,
Mar 12, 2017
UNB students Jade Yhap (left), Rebecca Goodine (center) and Elliot Coy (right) developed a video game that they hope will help children suffering from social anxiety.
"Empathy games
So-called empathy games have taken off in recent years, putting the player into a position where they have to make decisions that evoke human emotions and force them to confront different outcomes, based on how they choose to go forward."

Empathy, Perspective and Complicity: How Digital Games can support Peace Education and Conflict Resolution
By Paul Darvasi,

"Digital games have migrated from trivial forms of entertainment occupying the stigmatized margins of society, to exercising an increasingly powerful influence on quotidian culture. The advent of their social importance has led scholars like Mary Flanagan and Henry Jenkins to proclaim video games the media paradigm of the 21stcentury. As games have matured over the last decade, an abundance of experimental and artistic genres have emerged that are specifically designed to address complex social issues. These “serious games”, as they are broadly categorized, do far more than entertain: they can act as catalysts to engender awareness and activate positive social change. "

Inventive Games That Teach Kids About Empathy and Social Skills
By MindShift
APRIL 18, 2014
Play is nothing if not social. Games organize play, allowing us to wrangle and experiment with the world. "When we play games, more often than not, it’s us under the microscope.
Video games, however, have been a bit of an aberration in the history of play and games. Many of them have been solitary experiences. That’s changing, though. We’re in the midst of a multiplayer video game renaissance that’s bringing people together. Equally exciting is the trend in design toward video games that build social skills and encourage players to reflect on themselves and their relationships. Here are a few games that do just that."

3 Games for Teaching Empathy: Turning Kids Into Caring Children
By appsuncover 
Dec 15, 2015 
"Empathy is the act of understanding and feeling what another is experiencing. It includes sympathy, compassion, and identification. We observe the feelings of another with our eyes and ears. We respond with our hearts. Experts say empathy is the cornerstone of character. Let’s find out how games can help you build empathy and character in your children."

The Empathy Toy
is a blindfolded puzzle game that can only be solved when players learn to understand each other
Principal's Kit

GROK Relationship Games
"GROK* is a set of 20 relationship games and exercises designed to help us listen deeply to each other's values, needs, wishes, hopes and dreams; and to listen to oneself for clarity and self-connection. These games are fun, engaging, and educational; with no ‘winners and losers’. GROK offers a different model, a game where everybody not only wins, but also experiences deeper connection with themselves and others."