Pope Benedict recently praised new media and social networking, while also warning people of its dangers:
He said the possibilities of new media and social networks offered “a great opportunity,” but warned of the risks of depersonalization, alienation, self-indulgence, and the dangers of having more virtual friends than real ones. “It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives,” Benedict said in the message for the Catholic Church’s World Day of Communications.
He urged users of social networks to ask themselves “Who is my ‘neighbor’ in this new world?” and avoid the danger of always being available online but being “less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life.”
Easier said than done. The problem is, the only thing that ensures the proper use of technology is virtue. Discipline and self-control are hard enough for the best of people, but they’re a must in the online world, especially if we hope to live up to the Holy Father’s vision.