I am honored to be the first “featured blogger” for the Faith and Safety website, which represents exactly where Catholic and Orthodox Christians need to be in the 21st century. We want to meet families and young people where they are – increasingly, that is in the digital world. We believe this website can be a gateway for families that are seeking to integrate their digital lives and their faith lives.
We believe the digital world offers immense opportunities for young people to grow in their faith, learn about Christ and connect to peers around the world who share their beliefs. As with any new opportunity, there are also risks. In the digital world, the greatest risks are regarding young people’s privacy and safety, and their exposure to improper content. The challenge parents face, as they do with all new worlds that their children are eager to explore, is to help them learn to navigate it effectively.
One parent told me how they compare this to helping their teenaged children learn to drive. “We want to sit beside them. Their job is to learn to drive; our role is to help them stay out of the ditches.”
Notice also that Faithandsafety.org engages more than just the world of the Internet – we are focused on the entire digital world, including mobile devices, tablets, video games and more. These different platforms are becoming more integrated as businesses respond to consumer expectations. Our children move seamlessly from one to the other and so we provide a guide that addresses them all.
I am also very pleased that Faithandsafety.org features content from Common Sense Media, one of the leading nonprofit resources for families who want to use technology safely. Our partnership with CSM shows that we stand ready to work with any organization that shares our commitment to helping families navigate the digital world.
The digital world is growing rapidly and Faithandsafety.org will continually grow and evolve to keep pace. We welcome your comments and suggestions – and most of all we welcome you!
Most Rev. John C Wester
Bishop of Salt Lake City