Press Release

COMECE Youth Net annual contribution on digitalisation and family

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) releases on Friday, 5 July 2024, the 2023-2024 annual contribution of the COMECE Youth Net. The document contains recommendations to the EU and stresses the importance of prioritising family values and Christian ethics in the digital age. Read the document

Presidency of the COMECE Youth Net in a photo taken during the 2024 Spring Assembly of COMECE. (Photo: COMECE)

In response to the rapid digital transformation impacting European societies, the COMECE Youth Net – the network of young individuals delegated by EU Episcopates and acting as a consultative body within the Secretariat of COMECE – has released a comprehensive contribution emphasising the need for EU policymakers to prioritise family values and Christian ethics in the digital age.

The document, titled Digital Challenges for Families in Europe’, addresses the impact of the digital revolution on European families. It highlights the necessary balance between embracing digital connectivity and ensuring that technological advances reinforce family values and harmonise with the Christian ethos.

“Inherent dignity and fraternity must undergird the development of new technologies,” the document quotes Pope Francis, emphasising the call to reflect on the ethical trajectory of technological advancements and their impact on family life. The 2023-2024 annual contribution of the COMECE Youth Net also includes inputs from the youth of EU Member States, stressing the importance of family in the digital era.

“The EU must underscore the significance of the family in the evolution of our society,” the document states. Official Eurobarometer surveys often highlight common concerns among families striving to adapt to technological advancement, especially relating to information and entertainment consumption.

The annual contribution identifies key challenges posed by digitalisation, such as social isolation, mental health issues, and distorted intimacy expectations. It highlights the principles of Catholic Social Teaching – human dignity, care for the Common Good, and promoting genuine interactions – as vital to overcoming these challenges.

The contribution advocates for three pivotal actions: 1. Education as Prevention and Empowerment; 2. New Approaches to Digital Consumption; and 3. Fostering Real Encounters and Dialogue. For the first action, the members of the COMECE Youth Net suggest initiatives to foster media and information literacy with ethical principles. For the second, they call for more regulation of harmful online content. Finally, for the third one, they suggest a ‘Media for Encounter’ campaign.

These suggestions aim to develop a more connected, respectful and human-centred digital environment, offering concrete initiatives for EU policymakers to implement.

The digital era presents challenges and opportunities for families striving to maintain their values amidst technological engagement. By focusing on education, regulation, and positive digital engagement, the COMECE Youth Net aims to support technological advancements while preserving core family and societal values.

2023-2024 Annual Contribution of the COMECE Youth Net