DS JUNE 2008

Protecting Yourself From Internet's Moral Dangers

One cannot but acknowledge the important contribution of Internet in our daily lives. In the past two decades, internet has influence greatly our way of communication, of gathering information, of conduct­ing business transactions, of seeking entertainment, etc. The world of cyberspace has changed many aspects of our lives for which we could admit with certain that it has been for the better. Considering its positive note, it is clear that internet can also serve as a valuable instrument for evangelization. As Pope John Paul II comments, "The Internet can offer magnificent opportunities for evangelization if used with competence and a clear awareness of its strengths and weaknesses. Above all, by provid­ing information and stirring interest it makes possible an initial encoun­ter with the Christian message, especially among the young who increas­ingly turn to the world of cyberspace as a window on the world. It is important, therefore, that the Christian community think of very practi­cal ways of helping those who first make contact through the Internet to move from the virtual world of cyberspace to the real world of Christian community".

We cannot take for granted, however, that some of the changes have been for the worse. Despite its valuable contributions, Internet has also been a source of danger to our personal moral development. The flood of information that Internet provides may also carry materials contrary to our Christian faith and values. Materials such as pornography and violence have become so-readily available in the Internet that even children and young adults can access easily. We must not forget the damaging effects that these materials may bring on individuals and society for it can easily corrupt one's moral values and outlook on life. Hence, it is important that we revivify our concern to protect our children, young adults and selves by making use of all the necessary means to avoid being exposed to such "unwanted" materials and to avoid, if possible, that these materials reach our home computers.

Considering the injury that pornography and violence can do to individuals and to society, we cannot but be compelled to consider our responsibility to provide solution to this ever growing problem. Parents are encouraged to be more aware and to be more closely in touch with their children so that they can properly supervise and educate them better in the use of the internet. The leaders of the Church should promote the importance of interior hfe and virtues as a way to combat this problem to the faithful and to provide a clear view of sexuality in the context of our faith so as to be informed. The leaders of the state should enforce laws that would prevent the circulation of "unwanted" materials in the world of cyberspace. Lastly, the general public should manifest their concern so that their voice may be heard by those people responsible for the production and circulation of these damaging materials.

This issue of Documentation Service should provide enough informa­tion as regards the extent of the problem of pornography and violence found in the communication media such as the Internet. It also provides practical suggestions concerning how we can respond, as individuals, to protect our children and young adults from those dangers that may come from internet use. The problem of pornography and violence in communi­cations media is nothing new and is obvious to all. Hence, the intent of this Documentation Service is simply to rekindle our concern about the dangers that have plagued the world of cyberspace and to educate ourselves better about what we can do to protect others and ourselves from these dangers via Internet Safety.