Benedict XVI calls for prudent media education of children

Source: FSSPX News

On January 24, the pope invited parents and educators to the media education of children in his message for the 41st World Communications Day, organized this year around the theme: “Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education.” – In many countries, this Day will be celebrated next May 20.

“The complex challenges facing education today are often linked to the pervasive influence of the media in our world. As an aspect of the phenomenon of globalization, and facilitated by the rapid development of technology, the media profoundly shape the cultural environment,” declared Benedict XVI. “Indeed, some claim that the formative influence of the media rivals that of the school, the Church, and maybe even the home,” and he recalled that to educate children to be discriminating in their use of the media is the responsibility of parents, the Church, and school. “The role of parents is of primary importance,” insisted the Holy Father: “They have a right and duty to ensure the prudent use of the media by training the conscience of their children to express sound and objective judgments which will then guide them in choosing or rejecting programs available.”

“Media education should be positive,” stressed the pope, recalling the “fundamental value of parents’ example and the benefits of introducing young people to children’s classics in literature, to the fine arts and to uplifting music.” The temptation to sensationalize should not be passively accepted in places of learning.

The role of parents and teachers is “to educate children in the ways of beauty, truth and goodness.” In this task they should be supported “by the media industry” who should normally promote “fundamental human dignity, the value of marriage and family life, and the positive achievement and goals of humanity.” Unfortunately, lamented the Sovereign Pontiff, “at times commercial competitiveness compels communicators to lower standards.” “Any trend to produce programs and products which in the name of entertainment exalt violence and portray anti-social behavior or the trivialization of human sexuality is a perversion, all the more repulsive when these programs are directed at children and adolescents.”

The pope concluded his message with a renewed appeal to the leaders of the media industry to educate and encourage producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family.