It´s Not Enough to Ban Children from Watching TV, Says Pope

Good Programs Must Be Proposed, He Urges Media

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2002 ( John Paul II appealed to the media, especially television, to pay attention to the good of children, who sometimes spend more time with the TV than with their parents.

«Frequently, television become the main point of reference for boys, with its improper values and functions, which exert a negative influence on their development, especially when they spend a long time in front of the screen, which virtually substitutes the presence of parents,» the Pontiff said.

In a message addressed to the Catholic Union of the Italian Press, which held a congress in Rome today on «Boys and the Media,» the Pope said that there are few programs adapted to the youngest.

«Therefore, it is urgent to offer products that, while respecting pedagogical dynamics and ethical values, keep in mind the sensitivity and educational exigencies of boys,» John Paul II told the 3,000 journalists, members of the association.

«It is not enough to prohibit the little ones from watching» television, he warned. It is necessary to produce «programs that promote the growth of the person, the sense of goodness, the capacity to address correctly to most difficult aspects of life,» he added.

In particular, the Holy Father mentioned the importance of knowing how to propose «religious truths, capable of offering adequate answers to the deepest questions that are part of the person´s growth and development.»

John Paul II addressed the relation of other means of communication with children and adolescents, especially Internet, and requested communicators to commit themselves «with discernment and at the same time initiative» to offer services «that guarantee future generations an environment free of all manipulation and abuse.»

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