Technology and Faith in the 21st Century Discussion Questions and Answers
Technology and Faith in the 21st Century Discussion Questions Possible Answers Created by Claudia McIvor Used With PermissionDiscussion Question #1“Religion can greatly benefit from the proper use of Cyberspace, whether from handyservices such as helping travelers find a church for Mass or from the resources forscholarly research in a variety of church-related topics. However, besides the otherproblems noted, Cyberspace has become filled with a great deal of misleading or simplyinaccurate information on the Church.Just because you can find it on the web doesnt mean its true; and just because a siteuses "Catholic" in its name doesnt mean it reflects the teaching and practice of theCatholic faith. ‘Let the buyer beware’ applies very much in this case.” – Your Familyand Cyberspace, USCCB 2000http://www.usccb.org/comm/cyberspace.shtmlQuestion: The statement above is cautioning us to beware of the authenticity ofsomething posted on the web, so how can we verify authenticity?
Discussion Question #2“Some argue that the Internet is too big and complex ever to be controlled. There areloopholes in every suggested solution, including turning over to parents the problem ofprotecting their children—as if it were possible (or even desirable) for parents to be withtheir children twenty-four hours a day. The complexity of the Internet, however, does notrequire giving up on it. It means that there is shared responsibility not only to protectchildren but also to ensure that the Internet contributes to societys civility, harmony, andthe maintenance of moral standards. Otherwise it can easily become primarily a vehiclefor the propagators of hate, violence, and obscenity.” – Your Family in Cyberspace,USCCB 2000http://www.usccb.org/comm/cyberspace.shtml“Participation in the mass media arises from their nature as a “good” [quotes added]destined for all people. As a public service, social communication requires a spirit ofcooperation and co-responsibility with vigorous accountability of the use of publicresources and the performance of roles of public trust (cf. Ethics in Communications,20), including recourse to regulatory standards and other measures or structuresdesigned to effect this goal.” – From "The Media: A Network for Communication,Communion and Cooperation" (40th WCD message)http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/communications/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20090124_43rd-world-communications-day_en.htmlQuestion: Name some ways we can ensure the protection of our children on theInternet. How can this responsibility be shared among parents, grandparents, families,schools, media and government?
Discussion Question #3“The media must avoid becoming spokesmen for economic materialism and ethicalrelativism, true scourges of our time. Instead, they can and must contribute to makingknown the truth about humanity, and defending it against those who tend to deny ordestroy it. One might even say that seeking and presenting the truth about humanityconstitutes the highest vocation of social communication.”- from “The Media: At theCrossroads between Self-Promotion and Service. Searching for the Truth in order toShare it with Others." 42nd World Communications Day (2008) paragraph 5http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/communications/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20080124_42nd-world-communications-day_en.htmlThe world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makesus appreciate all the more Saint Paul’s exclamation: “Woe to me if I do not preach theGospel” (1 Cor 9:16).—Pope Benedict XVI, 44th World Communications Day message(2010)http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/communications/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20100124_44th-world-communications-day_en.htmlQuestion: Can you think of ways the Internet and digital media (Facebook, YouTube,etc.) might be used to spread the Gospel in your homes? In schools? In Churches? Inthe World?
Answers to Discussion QuestionsQuestion 1: How can you verify authenticity of a book, a website or an onlinedocument? • Is there one of these verifying stamps: Religious Superiors stamp: IMPRIMI POTEST "it can be printed" Censors stamp: NIHIL OBSTAT "nothing stands in the way" Bishops stamp: IMPRIMATUR "let it be printed" • Is it from a recognized web site of the church such as USCCB.org, .va (Vatican web site) or a diocesan web site? • Does it tell you in the “About” where it comes from and who authorizes it? For example, American catholic.org publishes a number of authoritative documents: St. Anthony Messenger Press and Franciscan Communications conducts its publishing ministry with the official ecclesiastical approval of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cincinnati. Our postal address is 28 W. Liberty St., Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202. Phone: (513) 241-5615 (513) 241-5615 • What is the domain in the URL? If it’s .wiki then it’s user created • What is the copyright information? Is it copyrighted by an individual or an organization? • Is there a citation indicating source material, references, etc. in the body of the text?Question 2: How can you ensure safety? • Physical and emotional safety are both important – tell your kids this • Firewall software installed and updated regularly on computer • Set parental restrictions on home computer • Block unwanted sites on public computers • Talk to your kids about allowable sites, dangers, strategies, boundaries • Have and sign a Responsible Use Policy • Monitor Internet use – keep computer in a public place • Assert parental authority and do not allow children on social networking sites • Never set up a profile with a child’s personal information such as name and address • Avoid posting photos of children on public sites and never name the photo in a way it can be traced • Know the difference between storing something locally on your computer and posting it on a website • Discuss long-term effects of posting information on the Internet (it never goes away) • Use avatars instead of digital images for childrenQuestion 3: Creative ideas to spread the Gospel using the Internet
• Create a family blog based on your faith experience – just make sure it adheres to safety guidelines• Update your parish web site – include video• Create a Facebook page for your parish• Youth group projects that collaborate with youth from other parts of the world• Collaborate with other Catholic communities to have a voice in justice issues – like our twinning ministry, which posts pictures of our sister parish in Haiti and videos of our missionaries doing relief work in Haiti.• Create a short video using Animoto to show what your group is doing• Create a Voicethread so students can express personal comments around a faith theme.• Use wordle.net to create a word cloud with words contributed by a class or students.