Defining Empathy in the Digital Age


A shoulder to cry on, a helping hand – we associate these images with what it means to be empathetic, but what happens when the pandemic has cut off physical touch?

At Soristic, we had this question at the front of our minds when developing In Their Shoes, a project geared towards developing empathy as a young person. It was initially planned as an in-person workshop based on our “Where Basic Needs Are Not Met” webinar, but circuit breaker restrictions meant that this was no longer viable. 

Even so, Covid-19 provided us with a valuable opportunity to re-evaluate our goals. The pandemic not only exposed but also worsened inequalities between various communities in Singapore. Our task was therefore two-fold: to both adapt our existing empathy workshop for an online format and ensure that it would be relevant long after the pandemic. 

We officially launched the project on 18 March 2021 and are proud to have received resoundingly positive feedback: 100% of participants reported a better understanding of the ways in which inequalities affect people’s lives, and the specific details of what these challenging circumstances might look like. Today, In Their Shoes is:

  • In Their ShoesYouth – an online simulation game that discusses mental health, learning difficulties, and low-income backgrounds.
  • In Their Shoes: Seniors – an online simulation game that discusses Covid-19, financial assistance, and homelessness.
  • The How-To-Play Guide that provides context about what empathy is, how to play the games, and worksheets to record your thoughts. 
  • The Educators’ Guide that helps facilitators run their own empathy workshops, based on our experience on rolling out the project to hundreds of young people, youth organisations and schools. 


We hope you’ll try In Their Shoes – feel free to reach out to for more information.