In this year’s message, I am conscious of those who constitute the so-called digital generation and I would like to share with them, in particular, some ideas concerning the extraordinary potential of the new technologies, if they are used to promote human understanding and solidarity. These technologies are truly a gift to humanity and we must endeavour to ensure that the benefits they offer are put at the service of all human individuals and communities, especially those who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable.
Who uses these new digital tools? We know many young people use these technologies. But their use cannot be defined in singular terms (such as the young person who uses a cell phone for example). The use is built in a “social” fashion. Young people use the cell phone to communicate, for the purpose of relationships among themselves, to meet each other, to strike up and keep up friendships. Thus those that use these tools do so within a community, at times creating a sort of “parallel community”, and within it they tend to create groups, interactions and relationships. This is the digital generation; A generation that creates its own existence as well through the use of new technologies. This again moves us to find a way such technologies can be used in an “ethical” sense. In fact it is not enough to use digital technologies, rather we should “use them well” and above all understand their mechanisms, their potential, and even their risks.