Social websites harm relationships, says leading British Catholic

August 3rd, 2009 - 12:57 am ICT by IANS  

Facebook London, Aug 2 (DPA) Modern technology is undermining people’s ability to communicate properly, retarding social skills and, in worst case scenarios, increasing suicide risks, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England said in an interview published over the weekend.
“As a society, we’re losing some of the ability to build interpersonal communication that’s necessary for living together and building a community,” said Archbishop Vincent Nichols in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph.

“Too much exclusive use of electronic information dehumanises what is a very, very important part of community life and living together,” he added, noting the need for face-to-face interaction, or at least telephone conversations.

He cited sites like Facebook and MySpace, noting that they do not provide “rounded communication, so it won’t build a rounded community”.

The trend leaves children unable to form proper friendships and to put more weight on the number, rather than the quality, of their online friendships, he said. That can, in some cases, lead to suicide, he said.

“They throw themselves into a friendship or network of friendships, then it collapses and they’re desolate,” he said. “But friendship is not a commodity. Friendship is something that is hard work and enduring when it’s right.”

Nichols’ comments come in the wake of a case in which a 15-year-old girl killed herself with a fatal overdose after being bullied on Bebo, a networking site.

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