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The wisdom of parents must guide children in the digital world

The wisdom of parents must guide children in the digital world

Vatican City, 23 January 2015 (VIS) – A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office this morning in which Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and Professor Chiara Giaccardi of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy, presented the Holy Father’s Message for the 49th World Day of Communications, entitled “Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love”.

Archbishop Celli explained, “From this text there emerges a positive overall message, given that the Pope affirms that the family continues to be a great resource and not merely a problem or an institution in crisis. As we can see, the Pope is not interested principally in the problem between the family and communication linked to new technologies. He instead focuses on the most profoundly true and human dimension of communication”.

The message affirms, he continued, that the family “has the capacity to communicate itself and to communicate, by virtue of the bond that links its various members”, and he noted that “a paragraph is dedicated to prayer, defined as a fundamental form of communication that finds in the family its truest environment of discovery and experience”.

“In this context”, he added, forgiveness is understood “as a dynamic of communication, since when contrition is expressed and accepted, it becomes possible to restore and rebuild the communication which broke down”. He also remarked that a long paragraph is devoted to the most modern media and their influence on communication in and among families, both as a help and a hindrance. He noted that the text clearly restates what has already been underlined in the teachings of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. “But it is important to rediscover yet again that the parents are the first educators of their children, who are increasingly present in the digital sphere. The presence of parents does not have a primarily technological dimension – generally children know more than their parents in this field – but is important on account of the wisdom they contribute”.

“It is well-known that one of the great risks is that children or teenagers may isolate themselves in a ‘virtual world’, significantly reducing their necessary integration in real everyday life and in the interrelationships of friendship. This is not to say that the relationships of affection or friendship that develop in the context of the web are not real. It must also be remembered that the young – and the not so young – are called upon to give witness to Christ in the digital world too, in the social networks we all inhabit”.

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