VATICAN CITY - Firming up his presence on social media, Pope Francis will make his debut on the photo-sharing app Instagram, a Vatican official announced. 

Published in Vatican

During Lent, we are all like Jesus, starving in the desert and being asked to turn stone into bread. But we must choose each and every time to say no. Even in the “Our Father” we ask God to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” But why must we face temptations during Lent and how do they shape us?
This Lenten season I decided to give up Facebook and YouTube videos. The reason was simple. I wanted to be more productive. So, I resolved to liberate myself from procrastination and to purposefully get work done.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

Marshall McLuhan, a communications philosopher and former professor at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, once stated that “we make our tools, and then our tools make us.”

Published in Youth Speak News
The Canadian bishops and their development agency are developing a statement of principles in the hope of heading off future social media attacks.

The Canadian Catholic Organizations for Development and Peace will model its statement of principles on the “CRS Guiding Principles” developed by the American Catholic aid agency Catholic Relief Services.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Fr. Borna Puskaric has a major project awaiting him when he returns to his home diocese of Zagreb, Croatia.

Published in Canada

The Vatican is dragging its media machine into the 21st century, promising to promote social media and streamline its fragmented services with the help of a former BBC executive.

Published in Vatican

Online classifieds have become a popular method of buying and selling, but online purchases can be risky. First, there’s the problem of not knowing the person you’re connecting with online, and whether they can be trusted.

Published in Youth Speak News

One of the hardest things about moving to a small town is integrating into the community. After my last column was published, I was offered a job in northeastern Alberta and found myself moving to the town of St. Paul. It’s the centre of the diocese and at approximately 6,000 people it’s the smallest municipality I’ve ever called home.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out
February 13, 2015

Voting with faith

This week wraps up election week for the University of Waterloo’s Federation of Students, or FEDs, as we call it. It’s been a busy two weeks of smiling, shaking hands, social media campaigns and general lack of sleep for the candidates. I can’t help but wonder if any of it is appreciated, or even noticed, by the majority of students on campus.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

The London Diocese is taking advantage of the overwhelming popularity of Pope Francis to spread a prayerful message.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - When establishing or editing a personal profile online, consulting your inner Catholic can keep you out of trouble.

Published in Youth Speak News

VATICAN CITY - Social media need to promote more logic, kindness and Christian witness than bluster, star-status and division, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Published in International

TORONTO - Peter Aguiar wants to have Toronto’s Catholic students talking about netiquette this year.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board thinks the answer to cyber-bullying isn’t punishment policies but bands on cellphones — blue rubber bands.

Published in Canada

BRAMPTON, ONT. - Nine high school students in Brampton learned this week that while talk may be cheap, tweeting isn't.

"Over the weekend it came to the attention of the administration at the school that some disparaging, offensive and totally inappropriate comments were directed at specific teachers at St. Marguerite d'Youville School," said Bruce Campbell, director of communication for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. "The school investigated and found nine students involved in a Twitter discussion."

While Campbell wasn't able to say exactly how the school became aware of the comments, he did say in the past students, parents and staff members have brought similar comments to the attention of school administration.

In this case the remarks made ranged from sexually explicit comments to messages of violent aggression directed specifically at three of the school's teachers — two female and one male.

Punishments varied in severity based on the degree in which each student participated in the "extremely derogatory" conversation. The nine were sent home Nov. 21, with five students receiving suspensions — two students hit with seven-day suspensions, the others with two-day suspensions.  

"The remaining two students, who's remarks were the most outrageous, received seven-day suspensions, they have to write letters of apology and they have been removed from the classrooms of those teachers whom these disparaging remarks were directed," said Campbell. "Peel police were actually called in to speak with a couple of them regarding the tone of the remarks. No charges were laid but two students were given a warning."

Campbell said none of the students were known for causing trouble in the past.

"These were good kids who made a bad decision."

Although the board is still developing a policy specifically regarding social media, these comments fall under the Catholic Code of Conduct's section on conduct injurious to the moral tone of the school.

Campbell said there is a good lesson to be learned out of all of this, which the school's principal has been echoing in the morning announcements during Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week in Ontario.

"Bullying, cyber-bullying or any kind of bullying is wrong," said Campbell. "Once you use social media it's not a conversation directly between you and two or three or four friends; it's out there.

"Regardless of whether it's during the day, off time, the weekend or in the summer, if somebody makes remarks directly related to somebody at the school — whether it be faculty, staff, admin or student — they should be aware that that has impact on the moral tone of the school and if we find out about it we're going to act on it."

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA
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