Here are resources to help families manage the impact of digital media in their lives.
Screenagers is a movie that was hosted by the North Deanery schools for their communities in February 2018. It explores the role of social media, video games, and online culture in family life. The Screenagers Web site has great ideas to help families manage the impact of online media.
Common Sense Media is another Web resource that Catholic schools rely on for family guidance about media consumption. This nonprofit organization addresses many aspects of modern media beyond social media, and has a strong focus on the needs of the child. They provide movie reviews, advice for common parental concerns, and guides for how to manage technology in family life. También tienen recursos en español. While Common Sense Media is not a Catholic organization, much of its perspective is aligned with Catholic teaching.
If you want deeper visibility into screen time on mobile devices (for your child or yourself), try Moment or the new Screen Time tools that are included with Apple iOS. In iOS 12, Apple has added extensive features for parental controls and monitoring. Moment is an app that tracks and reports on the use of all apps on an iPhone or iPad, including social media apps and YouTube. We are piloting it in some of our schools. This page goes into more detail on maintaining a safe online environment with your personal devices.
The Internet is full of temptations and risks, and online pornography is a major challenge for many people. Modern society has an increasingly vague definition of pornography — the Catholic Church is very clear about what constitutes pornography, and how we should respond to it. Catholic Answers has resources that provide an authentic Catholic perspective on this issue and how to address it. We owe our children a clear and age-appropriate understanding of the risks associated with digital media.
Cyberbullying is a significant problem for some of our children. Children say things online that they would not say in person, which can cause pain and harm to their peers. This is especially an issue with anonymous social media apps such as AfterSchool. We discourage our young people from participating in anonymous social media sites. Common Sense Media has good resources to help your family deal with cyberbullying.
Check with your local Catholic school for more information about online media consumption. Many schools offer events and resources for parents to assist with the formation of our young people in digital citizenship.
If you would like our deeper perspective on digital media in Catholic life and education, please read this article.