Still have questions?

Join Common Sense Media Plus for timely advice from a community of parents like you.

Join now

Back to topic overview

Character Strengths and Life Skills

What is compassion?

Compassion is caring about others and behaving toward them with affection, generosity, and concern. As opposed to empathy (which is putting yourself in someone else's shoes), compassion means having genuine feelings for other people's struggles.  

Compassion is a soft skill with practical benefits. You don't have to like or agree with everything someone does, but when you treat others with compassion, they are likely to treat you back in kind. Compassion smooths our interactions in the "real" world, and -- as technology connects more people from diverse backgrounds -- it's an essential character strength for the virtual world, too.

You can help kids develop compassion by reminding them that there are real people on the other side of the screen, modeling compassion for others, and choosing media that demonstrates compassion.