Monday, June 23, 2008

The Internets Will Get You

At the beginning of yesterday's homily our priest addressed the children. He tried to warn them of the dangers of chat rooms, etc., but it was clear he wasn't very knowledgeable of the subject, especially when he referred to "the internets." He warned children to be careful "because there are people out there who are trying to get you." To his credit he did tell the kids they should talk to their parents or talk to him--as if they would--if they don't feel comfortable talking to their parents. Regardless, I had some issues with his remarks and asked to chat with him after Mass. He turned out to be very open to what I had to say.

(Mind you I spoke civilly.) First, I told him I thought his remarks were unnecessary fear mongering. The vast majority of crimes against children are committed by family or friends, which means that is where the greatest danger lies. While there are dangers associated with the Internet, it requires education and awareness, not fear. There is nobody out there trying to get my child. The Internet is not an inherently dangerous "place". The problem is that we hear about it so much that we assume it must be so. Could we make the same assumption about priests when we heard so much about them committing crimes against children? Secondly, kids today have grown up with computers and the Internet. When you try to talk about it and you obviously are not that knowledgeable of the subject, any message you have is lost because your credibility just tanked. And expect derision when you use terms like "the internets". Like I said, he listened and seemed to genuinely appreciate what I had to say. He said he rarely gets feedback and asked me to do it again.

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