Young people, as has often been said, are the future of society and the Church. Good use of the Internet can help prepare them for their responsibilities in both. But this will not happen automatically. The Internet is not merely a medium of entertainment and consumer gratification. It is a tool for accomplishing useful work, and the young must learn to see it and use it as such. (Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 2002).
Teaching about the Internet and new technology involves much more than teaching techniques; young people need to learn how to function well in the world of cyberspace, make discerning judgments according to sound moral criteria about what they find there, and use the new technology for their integral development and the benefit of others (Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 2002).
The Internet is a hyperlinked, digital environment, [whose] non-linear structure provides users grappling with a topic or problem the means to ‘surf’ broadly or to dig deeply through links that connect all sorts of text, audio and video resources. This places responsibility for interpretation [discernment] more heavily on Internet users (Lytle, n.d.).
The two-way interactivity of the Internet is blurring the old distinction between those who communicate and those who receive what is communicated… creating a situation in which, potentially at least, everyone can do both. This is not the one-way, top-down communication of the past. (Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 2002).
Consider...the positive capacities of the Internet to carry religious information and teaching beyond all barriers and frontiers. Such a wide audience would have been beyond the wildest imaginings of those who preached the Gospel before us... Catholics should not be afraid to throw open the doors of social communications to Christ, so that his Good News may be heard from the housetops of the world” (Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 2000).