According to The Catholic Weekly publication [1], NSW Labor Leader Chris Mims mentioned that “Our kids are the first generation to grow up immersed in technology and we do not fully understand what this means for their young and developing minds”. Nevertheless, the author of the same article, D. Cramsie enumerated the possible negative effects of mobile technology on children such as “addiction, academic distraction, impaired sleep, increases in anxiety and depression as well as exposure to sexualized content and increased risk of bullying.”

To ensure that the positive effects of mobile technology such as responsible social communication, learning and education as well as healthy entertainment, among others, outweigh its negative effects practicing the virtue of temperance is significant. Temperance is one of the four cardinal or natural virtues recognized by the ancients even before Christ [2]. Unfortunately, the word “temperance” has a bad reputation of being known as saying “No” to things we like. The truth, however, is that to be temperate means responding a big “Yes” to even greater things that we knowingly or unknowingly wished for. I had been to a Brazilian restaurant a couple of times – the juicy and tasty cooked to perfection barbeque meats were outstanding. However, before having those succulent picanha steaks that I came for, potato salad and vegies with chimichurri sauce, blue cheese and Brazil nuts were served first. You understand now what I am driving at – temperance by saying “no” to having too much of those entree means saying a big YES to being able to appreciate the main meal that I paid for.

“Temperance is giving us the ability to take delight in the greatest goods. It means a big Yes to the greatest enjoyment of life. Nothing wrong with pleasure as such – for example procreation and to support life. God introduce those pleasure to keep maintain life or necessity of life – preservation of species. God wants us to enjoy those pleasure but if we do not moderate ourselves then we will get filled up with those “entree servings” and we will miss the most important goods such as friendships, love, and truth. Remember, we are made for more than our own pleasure. We are made to give the best of ourselves in a relationship. Without temperance it will prevent us from loving God and others as much as we could and should. Without self – control we will be slaved to our own desires as it will weaken our ability to reason and will lose focus on greater goods like sanctifying ourselves for the good of others” [3].

To apply temperance in our daily life as well in educating our children in using the modern technologies, let us get reminded with Saint John Paul II saying, “struggle and personal effort is necessary whereby the body is made temperate but even more importantly the entire human being gets to experience the joy of both self-discipline and overcoming hurdles and difficulties. This indeed is one of the elements of maturity that marks the years of the youth” [4]. Truly, it is not about forbidding ourselves and our children with the use of these new forms of technologies but gaining the best outcomes from them such as getting closer, knowing each other better and in the end to grow in unity. Easy said than done, right? How often we experience ourselves sitting in the same room and staring in our own devices rather than interacting with one another in human ways [2]. Moreover, screen has also pushed out our habits of reading, as well as deep, reflections, contemplation, and prayer. Indeed, temperance should give way to moderation in the use of screen.

A good starting point is ensuring the development of one’s virtues. Use of screen should help us to be more studios, efficient and more contemplative, among so many others. Last Monday I was certain that I just saw someone reading the gospel in her phone during the holy mass. Additionally, accessing entertainment while waiting in a queue (not in road traffic) is not a bad thing. This use of screen though has something to be planned and not part of being habitual mode of living one’s life connected to screen. The trouble is when we feel uncomfortable when disconnected to our device and worried missing out the constant flow of information that we used to have – this is when temperance should kick in. Remember, temperance is not about saying no to entertainment nor to any form of information that we continually seek but a big yes to being in control, yes to serenity of spirit, to interior order, to balance, to harmony and a big yes to beautiful integration of one’s life [3].

Reference 1
Cramsie, D., “Phones, Vapes and Kids – Double-Barrelled Threat to our Young,” The Catholic Weekly, 5 June 2022, NSW, Australia

Reference 2
Moynihan, M., “DECISIVE Parenting – Forming Authentic Freedom in Your Children”, Scepter Publishers Inc., 2009, NY, USA

Reference 3, accessed 23 Aug. 2022 at 700hrs

Reference 4
OPUS DEI, “Sailing Safely on the Digital Seas”, accessed 14 Aug. 2022 1500hrs

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