US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Mind your manners online

By Megan Sweas | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The Archbishop of England has gotten slammed online for sharing common criticism of Facebook and online social networking sites.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols bemoaned the lack of real community and face-to-face interaction, according to the U.K. Telegraph. A girl in England recently committed suicide after being mocked by her peers online.

"We're losing social skills, the human interaction skills, how to read a person's mood, to read their body language, how to be patient until the moment is right to make or press a point," Nichols said. "Too much exclusive use of electronic information dehumanises what is a very, very important part of community life and living together."

His comments are reasonable, Jonathan Wynne-Jones, the Telegraph's religion reporter, points out in a blog post, if you hear him out. Unfortunately, not many chose to listen to him. In highly secular England, bashing the bishop online seems to be common.

Still, What Wynne-Jones observes can apply to Internet users around the world as well:

"Under the cloak of anonymity, people feel free to say whatever they like, no matter how ill-informed or ill-judged. In fact you only have to look at some of the church blogs to see the worst examples of this. It’s as if all normal rules of human interaction go out of the window once these addicts are sat in front of their computer screens....

"Ironically, the reaction to [the Archbishop's] comments has proved that he is right."