Don't let your cell phone become an addiction, pope warns high schoolers
FREE Catholic Classes
Pope Francis met with a group of high school students this weekend, encouraging them to monitor their cell phone use, so as not to create obstacles to a culture of encounter.
Vatican City, (CNA) - Students from Visconti High School visited with the pope at Paul VI Hall on April 13. The meeting comes a month after the 450th anniversary of the birth of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. The saint was known for his charitable work with the poor, which resulted in him contracting the plague and dying at the age of 23.
The school's building in Rome houses the remains of Gonzaga, who is the patron saint of the youth. Gonzaga himself attended the school. Pope Francis praised the saint for his willingness to encounter those around him, particularly those in need.
In modern times, the pope warned, we must be cautious of anything that tears us away from encounter and authentic relationships. While cell phones can be a valuable tool for communication, they can also reduce our freedom and present an obstacle to true dialogue, he said.
"Free yourself from dependence on your mobile phone, please!" Francis said. "You have certainly heard of the drama of addiction...This one is very subtle."
"Be careful, as there is the danger that, when the telephone is a drug, communication is reduced to simple 'contacts'. But life is not for 'contacting', it is for communicating!"
The pope emphasized the importance of the school system as a place of communication, especially between cultures. The Church promotes fraternity, he said, noting that this requires a foundation of freedom, truth, solidarity, and justice.
"The dialogue between different cultures and different people enriches a country, enriches the homeland and enables us to move ahead in mutual respect, enables us to go ahead looking at one earth for all, not just for some," he said.
Pope Francis also commented on the important role modesty and fidelity have within friendships. He stressed that love is not solely an emotional reality but a responsibility.
"The sense of modesty refers to a vigilant conscience that defends the dignity of the person and authentic love, precisely so as not to trivialize the language of the body. Faithfulness, then, along with respect for the other, is an indispensable dimension of every true relationship of love, since one cannot play with feelings."
Pope Francis' concerns about cell phone addictions echo those of technology experts in recent years, as computer and phone use have become more prevalent among children and teens, raising concerns about academic performance, social wellbeing and overall quality of life.
Psychologist Jean Twenge, author of "iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood," spoke to CNA last September about trends in technology.
The average daily screen time for teenagers is high above the recommended two hours, Twenge noted. "Beyond that, the risks increase, topping out at the highest levels of use," she said.
She pointed to a 2015 study from the research group Common Sense Media. It stated that over half of teens in the U.S. spent at least four hours in front of a screen and 25% were reported to have been in front of a screen for more than eight hours a day, with detrimental effects.
"For example, teens who use electronic devices 5 or more hours a day are 71% more likely to have a risk factor for suicide than those using devices less than an hour a day," Twenge said. "They are also 51% more likely to not sleep enough. Teens who are online 5 or more hours a day are twice as likely to be unhappy as those online less than an hour a day."
Pope Francis has spoken on the moderation of technology in the past. During a 2016 homily, he highlighted the damages television and cell phones can have on family encounters.
"In our families, at the dinner table, how many times while eating, do people watch the TV or write messages on their cell phones? Each one is indifferent to that encounter. Even within the heart of society, which is the family, there is no encounter."
He said it is the responsibility of the family to seek out dialogue in which the person is truly seen and heard rather than treated as an object of indifference.
"We are accustomed to a culture of indifference and we must strive and ask for the grace to create a culture of encounter, of a fruitful encounter, of an encounter that restores to each person his or her own dignity as a child of God, the dignity of a living person," he said.
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
The Vatican's doctrinal office is preparing a document which will address Church teaching and the anthropology of the human person in the ... continue reading
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin marked the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and ... continue reading
Pope Francis challenged Catholics to be a source of hope for those in poverty, especially in the face of divisions in wealth and a ... continue reading
Pope Francis sent a message to apostolic nuncios Thursday informing his ambassadors that they have a responsibility as papal ... continue reading
More than 14,000 Catholics walked 62 miles from Paris to Chartres Cathedral in three days in an annual Pentecost pilgrimage of prayer and ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Vatican's doctrinal office expected to release document on gender theory
- Chilean auxiliary bishop-elect steps down after controversial statements
- Daily Reading for Monday, June 17th, 2019 HD Video
- Deacon Keith Fournier: What I Will Do on Fathers Day
- Daily Readings for Sunday, June 16, 2019
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 HD Video
- St. John Francis Regis: Saint of the Day for Sunday, June 16, 2019
- Prayer Requests Live for Friday, June 14th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, June 16th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, June 15th, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Thursday, June 13th, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.