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The internet is a gift of God, says pope; it’s also a responsibility

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Francis calls for making the digital world a place where people are respected in their differences

In his most recent Pope Video, an initiative of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, the Holy Father calls users of the digital world to create an environment that respects people’s human integrity. He refers to the internet as a gift of God, and one that must be used responsibly.

Francis underlines that social networks are an opportunity for encounter and solidarity, but warns that they must be used in a way that respects the dignity of other people. He also emphasizes the importance of being better citizens on the internet, making it a place rich in humanity.

“Let us pray together that social networks may work toward that inclusiveness which respects others for their differences,” the pope says. “The internet is a gift of God, but it is also a great responsibility.”

There are 3,196 billion active users on social networks worldwide, which constitutes 42% of the world’s population. Among the regions with the highest use, the most notable are North America, where 70% of the population are active users; northern Europe, with 66%; eastern Asia, with 64%; and South America, with 63%.

“The internet can offer immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity,” Francis insists. “The internet can help us to be better citizens. May the digital network not be a place of alienation.”

“We live with social networks almost without realizing it, but often, instead of serving as an instrument for true communication and communion, they become a medium for discord and misinformation,” said Jesuit Fr. Frédéric Fornos, international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and of the Eucharistic Youth Movement. “Let’s make social networks places of humanization, of openness to others and to their culture, their religious and spiritual tradition, and their differences; places of dialogue at the service of responsible citizenship.”

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