Catholic, Orthodox groups unite to promote online safety

.- A new website launched by the U.S. bishops’ communication department and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is striving to provide internet safety advice for families.

The site, www.faithandsafety.org, aims to be a resource for parents wanting to help their children navigate the internet, mobile devices and other technologies safely and within a “faith framework.”

Along with its associated Facebook and Twitter accounts, the website offers resources aimed at both internet safety and growing in faith.

“Our children look to their parents for wisdom and guidance,” said Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. “However, many parents feel somewhat ill-equipped to help their children traverse the unfamiliar terrain of the digital social world.”

“This joint initiative between our two Churches is a positive step in helping parents equip their children in the digital world,” he explained.

Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ communications committee, wrote the first blog post for website, which launched June 13, in the middle of Internet Safety Month.

“We want to meet families and young people where they are – increasingly, that is in the digital world. We believe this website can be a gateway for families that are seeking to integrate their digital lives and their faith lives,” he wrote.

Features on the site include reviews for websites and mobile apps, as well as columns addressing issues such as cyberbullying and practical how-to guides for internet security. In the coming months, content will be expanded to include greater video content and regular columns by Catholic and Orthodox leaders on faith and technology.

Faithandsafety.org will also include content from Common Sense Media, an independent nonprofit organization that works to help families and children navigate modern media and technology.

The site emphasizes that its purpose is not to teach parents how to “spy” on their children’s online activity, but rather to “promote healthy dialogue within your family on how to use technology appropriately.”

“We believe that this site, presented from the perspective of the Greek Orthodox and Catholic Church, provides a unique perspective on being missionaries of faith on the Digital Continent,” Bishop Wester said.

Tags: Internet, Online safety, Child abuse

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