My dearly beloved in the Lord,
When I think of our children and youth, and the many temptations and trials that beset them in the world today, I am aware of the amount of work and attention required from their parents, their family and their Church family. In a climate of unbelief, that does not merely ignore religious faith and values, but is actually contemptuous and actively against such beliefs, our modern society seems to have little--if anything--that recommends itself to an Orthodox family.
Naturally it is the parents’ primary responsibility to provide their children with a Christian education, building character and teaching them to respect others and fear God. Especially since we no longer have the support of extended families and neighborhoods, it is imperative that parents understand and are aware of the information that our children are exposed to, so that they will be able to counteract negative influences.
Technology such as computers, the Internet, cell phones and iPods have radically altered our society. While all these devices and advancements have tremendous benefits, the misuse and abuse of new technologies also creates challenges for Orthodox Christians in the 21st century.
Along with all the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States, I am deeply concerned about the safety and future of our precious children, because our children may become victims of all that is now technologically available on the internet. This could be disastrous for our children and grandchildren, inflicting upon their lives and their families great moral, social and spiritual damage.
“Current advanced technology facilitates the distribution of digital video content via devices such as video cell phones, iPods and PDAs. Through highly advanced versions of these wireless handheld devices, all the pornography on the internet is available to many Americans, including our children and teens. There are no filtering or monitoring devices available at this time. This means many children and teens will be able to access such material, unless their parents are aware of this threat and take action to prevent it.” SCOBA message on wireless technology
Of course, the technology itself is not dangerous. The danger is that there are currently no safeguards to protect our children from being exposed to unwanted, seductive and explicit content. Because our children are already more advanced and technologically savvy, we must educate ourselves about the technology and pay attention to our children and what they are being taught – not just their homework, or athletic activities, but the values and attitudes that are learning through technology and the Internet, and even in the schools. We must ensure that the first and greatest lessons they learn are from their parents and their Church, enabling them to be healthy, productive members of society and faithful Orthodox Christians.
For my part, as your spiritual father and a concerned adult, I will try to send every week some excellent and up-to-date information and advice on these critical problems, that I have received from the Information Technology Department of our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America.
May God grant us the wisdom and the inspiration to protect our beautiful and vulnerable children from the dangers around them! I remain,
Prayerfully yours with paternal love in Christ,
Metropolitan of Atlanta