Vatican Media Screenshot

Pope on Internet and Social Media: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

‘Today’s media environment is so pervasive as to be indistinguishable from the sphere of everyday life.’

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There is good news and there is bad news. And the remarkable capabilities of the internet and social media are responsible for both.
That was a key theme detailed by Pope Francis in his message for the 53rd World Day of Communications to be held in 2019.  The theme: “We are members one of another” (Eph 4,25). From social network communities to the human community. The Vatican released the message on January 24, 2019.
First, the good news: Social media help people to connect, engage with people we might never have met, help others, and access vast realms of information.
But there is the bad news: information is manipulated, privacy is invaded, and perhaps as many as a fourth of youth people suffer cyberbullying.
«Ever since the internet first became available, the Church has always sought to promote its use in the service of the encounter between persons, and of solidarity among all,» Pope Francis said.  «Today’s media environment is so pervasive as to be indistinguishable from the sphere of everyday life. The Net is a resource of our time. It is a source of knowledge and relationships that were once unthinkable. However, in terms of the profound transformations technology has brought to bear on the process of production, distribution, and use of content, many experts also highlight the risks that threaten the search for and sharing of, authentic information on a global scale.
«If the Internet represents an extraordinary possibility of access to knowledge, it is also true that it has proven to be one of the areas most exposed to disinformation and to the conscious and targeted distortion of facts and interpersonal relationships, which are often used to discredit.»
The Holy Father warned that while the Net can connect people it can also lead people to live in isolation, without direct human contact. He noted that this is a particular danger for young people.
The Holy Father’s Complete Message

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Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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