VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has advised parents not to allow computers in their children’s rooms, to protect them from the “filth” of pornography, and to help them not to become attached to their gadgets.
On the flight back from his one-day apostolic visit to Sarajevo on Saturday, June 6th, the Pope told reporters that being too attached to one’s computer “harms” one’s soul and takes away one’s freedom.
“It makes you a slave to the computer,” he said. “It’s odd, in many families, the fathers and mothers tell me: We’re at the table with the children, and they are with their mobile phones in another world.”
He added that virtual language is a reality, but attachment to technology “takes us away from ordinary life, family life, social life, and even from sports, from the arts.”
“This is a psychological illness, to be sure!,” he said.
The Pope explained that the “filth” contaminating the minds of children today ranges “from pornography to semi-pornography, to programs that are empty and have no values: for example, programs that are relativistic, hedonistic, consumerist and foment these things.”
He named consumerism and relativism “cancers of society,” and he said that he will be addressing these internal pollutants in his highly anticipated encyclical on the environment, to be released June 18th. The upcoming papal document will be entitled Laudato sii [Praise be to Thee], after the the opening lines of St. Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Sun.
Pope Francis ended by commending the vigilance of parents who do not allow computers in their children’s rooms, and advised all parents to follow suit.
“Computers should be in a common place of the house,” he said. “These are small helps that parents have found to avoid precisely this [filth].”
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.