Saturday, September 19, 2009

Review: Internet & Families

When I saw that Catholic Parent Know How: Internet & Families was available for review from The Catholic Company, I wanted the chance to read it and see what information was being shared.  Kids and the Internet is a popular topic, and parents seem to be on every side of it -- those that refuse to let their children spend time at all on the Internet, those who let their children have free reign, and those who limit and monitor the use of the Internet by their children.  As an instructor who offers classes in Internet use, including social media and blogging, I receive many questions about what my thoughts are.  (My personal thoughts?  Kids should be allowed to use the Internet, under supervision by parents.  As they get older, they have more freedoms, but still use only with supervision.)

Many Catholic families I know struggle with how to approach their children and the wide myriad of social media available today.  Our local Catholic newspaper had an article in it by someone who compared social media to pornography!  Based on this, I was very interested to see what Our Sunday Visitor would have to say about Kids & the Internet.

This is another 8 page pamphlet, which states on the cover that it provides "Practical Pointers, Scriptures & More"  The pamphlet also included a page about the use of cell phones and children. Throughout the pamphlet, the advice was that parents should be aware and active of what is out there.  The pamphlet encouraged open communication  and provided tips about Internet safety.

I was happy to see that it never stated that the Internet should be avoided, and it talked about the many good things and positive interactions that can come from the Internet. That must be tempered with caution and prudence -- and while I would never encourage a parent to allow their teen unlimited and unmonitored access -- I do believe that they should be provided with the opportunity to explore and learn about the variety of information out there while still at home, under the added protection of their parents.

Personally, one of the first podcasts I ever listened to and downloaded to my iPod was that of Father Roderick, a wonderful priest from the Netherlands who embraces technology every step of the way (and is quite a gamer & sci-fi freak as well!)  In fact, he started SQPN, which is an entire company dedicated to Catholics in new media.  I've learned so much about our Catholic faith from him, and without the Internet I never would have known he existed!  I also have an app on my iPhone which helps me say the rosary!

I was also glad to read encouragement for parents to be involved in social media and new technology, so they can know what their teens are talking about.  In a number of social media classes I've taught, I have parents of teens who don't have a Facebook account, but their kids do.  I always tell them to go home and sign up and immediately "friend" their child.

Not much can be covered in 8 pages, but I felt it was a good introductory pamphlet to some of the new technologies that are available between cell phones and the Internet. I especially liked the prayer that graced the back cover:

Prayer to St. Isidore

Dear St. Isidore of Seville,
Guide us in our use of the Internet,
You were a poor student,
You gave this problem over to God
and became one of the most learned men of your time,
writing dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a history of the world.
O Servant of God, we are poor students:
while we celebrate the wealth of information we can find online,
keep us wary of the dangers that exist there, too.
Pray for us that we might seek wisdom, protectino,
and right judgment at the feet of Christ our Savio,
O Patron Saint of the Internet, pray for us!

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of this pamphlet. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Catholic Parent - Internet & Families-Pkg of 10.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Melanie! I am planning to post on a similar topic. I completely agree that parents can't stick their heads in the sand and ignore all the new technology that is out there. It's a fact of life in today's world. And keeping the communication channels open with our kids is key!


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