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Orthodox, Catholic Churches Partner on Website to Help Parents Keep Children Safe Online

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Jun 14, 2013

Website is unique religious/nonprofit partnership
Provides resources to help stay safe online, build faith
Guides parents and children with Internet, mobile devices, other technology

NEW YORK – The Internet Ministries Department of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) and the Communications Department of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have launched www.faithandsafety.org, a resource for adults to help children safely navigate the online and mobile worlds. The website and complementary social media channels (http://twitter.com/faithandsafety and http://facebook.com/faithandsafety) address safe use of the Internet, mobile devices, and other technologies, while emphasizing the positive use of technology to support children’s faith.

The initiative, funded in part by a grant from the Catholic Communication Campaign, which receives donations from U.S. Catholics, was launched in recognition of June as being Internet Safety Month.

“Our children look to their parents for wisdom and guidance. However, many parents feel inadequately equipped to help their children traverse the unfamiliar terrain of the digital social world,” said His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. “This joint initiative between our two Churches is a positive step in helping parents equip their children in the digital world. We have a responsibility to the Lord Himself Who said, ‘Let the children come unto Me’ (Matt. 19.14).”

“Faithandsafety.org is intended to be not only a set of practical tools and guides for adults, but also a place where they can find a faith framework for conversations with their children about the need to be ethically and morally equipped when they go online,” said Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communication. “We believe that this site, presented from the perspective of the Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches, provides a unique perspective on being missionaries of faith on the Digital Continent.”

Content on the site includes mobile app reviews, how to address issues faced by children online (such as bullying), and resources to educate parents on protecting their home networks.  Parents will also find information about social networks – including Facebook – and how they can better equip their families to navigate social media.  “It is our sincere hope and prayer,” said Theo Nicolakis, Information Technologies Director for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, “that the launch of this initiative during Internet Safety Month will show that the Church cares about digital safety, cares about the technology issues families are facing, and can provide straightforward, practical resources to busy parents.”

Content will be expanded over the next several months and feature regular columns by leading Catholic and Orthodox figures on connecting faith and technology, as well as news updates, how-to guides and video content.  Faithandsafety.org features content by Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org), an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology.

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