The Internet and Pornography - United States Conference The Internet and Pornography Introduction Dear Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Major Superiors, esteemed colleagues and

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    TheInternetandPornography

    Introduction

    DearCardinals,Archbishops,Bishops,MajorSuperiors,esteemedcolleaguesandfellowparticipants,itisanhonorandprivilegetoaddressyouthisday.Thankyouforallowingustopresenttoyou.InthewordsofhisHolinessPopeBenedictXVI,the new technologies pose a great opportunity and this age is beingtransformed. It is an ever more commonly held opinion that, just as theIndustrial Revolution in its day brought about a profound transformation insocietyby themodifications it introduced into thecyclesofproductionand thelivesofworkers,sotodaytheradicalchangestakingplaceincommunicationsareguiding significant cultural and social developments. The new technologies arenotonlychangingthewaywecommunicate,butcommunication itself,somuchso that it could be said that we are living through a period of vast culturaltransformation. Thismeans of spreading information and knowledge is givingbirthtoanewwayoflearningandthinking,withunprecedentedopportunitiesforestablishing relationships andbuilding fellowship. Letus take thesewords toheart!

    TodaysFocus

    This time together must not only focus on the possibilities that moderntechnology pose for us and thosewe serve, but also the perils and problemsassociated with inappropriate, often troubling and possibly new addictiveprocessesaswell.HisHolinessalsochallengesusandtheyoungtobeawareofthepossibledangersthatthesenewopportunitiesmayposetousandourveryway of being, Entering cyberspace can be a sign of an authentic search forpersonal encounters with others, provided that attention is paid to avoidingdangers such as enclosing oneself in a sort of parallel existence, or excessiveexposuretothevirtualworld.Inthesearchforsharing,for"friends",thereisthechallenge to be authentic and faithful, and not give in to the illusion ofconstructinganartificialpublicprofileforoneself.

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    OurTradition

    Thefocusfortodaymustbeaboutthesafetyandcareofthechildren,theyoungadults,parents,theyoungandtheold allthoseweserve.Thishasbeenand isourtradition.Thecurrentcrisismaychallengeusinthisregard,butletusbeclearaboutthiseffortandthisreality.Itisalwaysinourtraditiontocarefortheleastamongst us. [Matthew 25:40] Certainly these days pose new and challengingproblemsforallwhousetheInternetandtechnology,andwewillbyimplicationbe specifically addressing these individualswho parent our children, teach ourchildren, and pastor our children but they themselves as adultsmight be alsooverwhelmedbythesechallengesandopportunitiesandtheytoomustbevigilantand sensitive to the possibilities and the problems today associated with theappropriate use of the Internet and technology. Research across cultures andcountries indicates that the youth, college students and young adults are theprimaryusersof thesenew technologies.Wewouldbewell served to enter itwisely,completely,andwithduehaste.

    Our first and primary concern is safety. This has been and is central to ourtradition. Children andadultsoftenenter thisworldwithout formaleducationand training in theproperandappropriateuseof the Internetand technology.Researchintothenegativeeffectsofthesegiftsdemonstratesthatifweeducatechildren and ourselves into thewayswemight better use these realities, thepossibilitiesofmisuseandaddictiondecreasedramatically.Simplyput,researchdemonstrates that normal Internet and proper use of technologymust be ataught discipline like the ability to drive. Byway of analogy,wemust first bedrivenbyanadultwhohaslearnedhowtodrive,wemustfeelsafeandwemustlearntherulesoftheroad.Inmostpartsoftheworld,wewouldnevergiveachildkeys toacarandplacehimorherbehind thewheelwithoutmakingsurethattheyarematureenoughtosee,toviewtheroad,to learnhowtoturnthecar,manageitproperly,toknowhowtoreadamap,usespeedappropriately,andhow to safely park and maintain a car. Why do we do differently with theInternet,cellphones,andmoderntechnology?

    Clearly,inRome,whenyouseehowonedrivesheremanyparentsofRomemayhave forgotten to educate their children properly or likemany todaywith theInternetmayhaveabandonedany formaleducation inthebasicsofhowtousethe roadsand the informationhighwaywiselyandprudentlybut thismaynothavebeenthewisestformofeducationforuswhohavetogetoutoftheirway

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    for fear, on the streets of Rome and/or on the information highway. Fearreduction and education in thesematters is of paramount importance and isaboutsafetyon the roadsofRomeandon the informationhighway in thenewmillennium.

    ANewWayofRelating

    ThesecondkeypointintheuseandthemisuseoftheInternetandtechnologyisthatwemust see thisgift inadifferent light thanmostother realities thatwehaveseenandknown.Thisgift,thisreality,isevolvingandchangingaswespeak.This demands a newway of relating and adapting. Theminutewewrote thispresentation, new technologies and newways of driving on the Internet havebeen developed and are demanding different responses and additionalguidelines.Most companies, governments, andmost universities havewhat iscalled planned obsolescence in otherwords; they know that as soon as acomputer issoldandbought;thenextversionthatisquickerandbetterisbeingprepared to replace theone you justpurchased. You cannotmanage research,you cannotmanagebusiness, you cannot keeppacewith thenew informationthatischangingandevolving,ifyoutoodonotadapt.Thisnewreality,therefore,presentsuswithadramaticandnewwayofknowing,relating,andbeing. Ifwefail to understand this new way and grasp its dynamic nature, our children,parents,priests,ourpeople,andourChurchwillbeatgraverisk.Safetywouldbeandcouldbeplaced in jeopardy.Again,basicsafety,basicknowledgewouldbecompromisedandwewouldbe leftvulnerable.Wecanstaystagnantorwecanhaveprocessesthatchangewiththesenewmodesorprocessesofinformationaland relational importance. Without careful attention to this dynamic, ourtheologyandour senseofmeaning couldbediscarded.Children,youngadults,parents, teachers,andourpriestscouldbeusedanddiscardedasmereobjectsmuchmorequicklyandmorerapidlyinanalreadymaterialistic,hypersexual,andrapidlypacedage.

    NewRulesfortheRoad

    Itisessentialthatanynewmannerofbehavingandrelatingmustalsohavenewrulesofusingthistechnology.Assuch,theword,rulesmaynotapply.

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    Attachedtothispresentation,pleasefindonereligiousorderswayofmanagingthesenewpublicdomainsandoneArchdioceseswayofrespondingtothesenewrealities.TheseareGuidelinesandassuchwillchangeandneedtochange.Asacaveatorconcretesuggestion,uselanguagethatisadaptable.GuidelinesorPoliciesisawordinEnglishthatconnotesconcretesuggestionswithoutbeingsetinstoneorsomethingthatisandwillbeamendedastechnologyandproblemsemerge.Aswereferencedbefore,speedlimitsandstoplightsinRomemeanonethinghere(ifthereareany)asopposedtoaspeedlimitinLondonorBerlinwheresayprecisionandattentiontoeverydetailandcompliancetakeonnewmeaningandshallwesay,enforcement?IntechnologyandintheuseoftheInternet,onesGuidelinesmustbeadaptabletotheeverchangingadvancesintechnologywhichoccurandwilloccurfrequently.

    TheUniversityofSouthernCalifornia(USC,theAnnenbergSchool/CenterforaDigitalFuture)isoneofthepremiercentersintheworldthatmanageandresearchinternationaldataontheuseandtrendswithintheInternet.TheyhaveextensivedataabouttheInternetforbusinesses,users,andacademicinstitutions,andtheyreport,Through10yearsofstudies,wehaveobservedoneparticularlyfascinatingconstant:thatonlinebehaviorchangesrelentlessly,andusersandnonusersdevelopattitudesandactionsthatareconstantlyinfluxastechnologyemerges,andthenthrivesorwithers,thisreport,theninestudiesthatprecededit,andthosethatwillfollow,areourongoingattempttochroniclethisextraordinaryinterplaybetweentechnologyandbehavior."InternationaldataontheuseoftheInternetseemstoindicateatremendousabilitytoengage,relateandbecomehealthierandconnectedtothoseweloveandwithwhomwework,thisnewandreassuringdataisusefulandimportant.

    AGospelUnderstandingoftheGift

    FewpresentationsstartwiththisaspectofthegiftednessoftheInternetandtheemerging role of technology, but this is essential in this presentation. Newtechnologies and the Internet itself are truly incredible gifts. Thistransformation,asHisHolinessdescribes tous, ishappeningnowandwillbehappening in the foreseeable future. Information exchange is enormous, everexpandingandismoreandmorerapid.Newcellphonetechnologiesarehelpingineveryaspectoftheglobeandhelpingrichandpooralike.FarmersinAfricaaregettingup todateprices tobetteranticipate theirmarketneedswhile in theirvery fields that theyareharvesting theircrops.WallStreetandMainStreet

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    are benefiting from immediate and an explosive, omnipresent business andmarketing information. Communication, classrooms, relationships, businessmeetings,conferences,information,entertainmentthatisconvenient,immediateand universally accessible makes this new reality an everunfolding rich andseeminglyendlesspossibility.Itisalsocriticaltonotpanic.

    Additionally,Most researchers are finding healthy and appropriate use of theInternet leads tomore socialconnectionnot lessandhealthier relationships, ingeneral. Onehas toavoidwhatone researcher calls, jovenoia similar to theEnglishword,paranoia. There is littleevidence to suggest that the Internetortechnologyishorrible,evilorawfulforouryouthorus.Suchlanguageandsuchapanicareclearlyunwarranted.Incontrastthereisgrowingdatatosuggesttheopposite.

    InthewordsoftheHolyFather,weareundergoinganotherrevolution,similartomany such revolutions in thehistoryofmankindandourplanet. This is thegraceof thismoment inhistoryand this isalso theverychallengeand theveryperilofthismoment.Ifwefailtograspthisgift,wefailourselves,ourpeopleinourcare,andwe failourGod,bynotrespondingtothemandateoftheLord inthe Gospel of John, to care for those I have given you. This is the GospelunderstandingofthisuniquegiftthatwearepresentedwithintheInternetandinthe emerging role of technology. Early research across cultures and countriestendstosupportthesimpleyetcentralnotionthattheInternetenhancesfamilialandsocialbonds. This

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