An Evaluation of Digital Technology’s Impact on Children

Source: FSSPX News

An international congress entitled “Child Dignity in the Digital World” will take place from October 3 to 6, 2017, at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. The goal of this symposium is to better understand and prevent the risks faced by minors, for whom the internet has become a veritable way of life.

Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ, sees the future congress as an “historic opportunity”. The German Jesuit is President of the Centre for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University, which is organizing the event. “The congress,” he explains, “provides an outstanding opportunity to exchange knowledge and good practice on risks and prevention as children navigate this new digital world.”

The experts are going to evaluate the risks and challenges of the digital age, as well as its impact on the psychology of children, who represent over a quarter of the world’s 3.2 billion Internet users. “This generation of over 800 million young users is vulnerable to entirely new forms of harm and abuse such as trolling, cyberbullying, sextortion, and grooming for sexual exploitation,” explain the organizers in their press release.

This is not to mention the other, more subtle dangers and consequences of an addiction to NTIC (New Technologies of Information and Communication): weakening of the cognitive faculties, withdrawal from reality, loss of good judgment, etc.

“Our goal,” adds Prof. Ernesto Caffo, scientific coordinator of the congress, “is to substantially expand the body of knowledge on these complex issues and generate true global dialogue."

With a mix of conferences, plenary sessions, workshops, and a discussion forum, the congress will focus on the fields of Cyber Protection, Cyber Education and Cyber Responsibility. It will close with the Declaration on Child Dignity in the Digital World that will be presented during an audience with Pope Francis.