After the positives of paragraph 87, Pope Francis turns our attention to the challenges presented by the digital environment. You can access the full document on this link at the Vatican site.
88. Yet to understand this phenomenon as a whole, we need to realize that, like every human reality, it has its share of limitations and deficiencies. It is not healthy to confuse communication with mere virtual contact. Indeed, “the digital environment is also one of loneliness, manipulation, exploitation and violence, even to the extreme case of the ‘dark web’. Digital media can expose people to the risk of addiction, isolation and gradual loss of contact with concrete reality, blocking the development of authentic interpersonal relationships. New forms of violence are spreading through social media, for example cyberbullying. The internet is also a channel for spreading pornography and the exploitation of persons for sexual purposes or through gambling”.[FD 23]
Communication is indeed possible, even the kind that transcends a wealth of information. Communication implies something deeper, a mutual understanding. But the internet and other social media also make it easy to pretend, to present false fronts, and to have readily concealed ulterior motives.
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