How to Navigate the Internet as a Catholic

How to search effectively using the internet.
by Sonia Baldwin, Consecrated wom | Source: Mater Ecclesiae College

“Results 1 - 10 of about 91,600,000 for catholic” (www.google.com)

Whether you are a proficient internet user or just had your computer hooked up last week, a result returning almost 100 million links for a search on the word “Catholic” is a little daunting. Literally, where in the world do you start? Being hooked up to the internet means being hooked up to a global community. Every type of person you can imagine (and more) is also surfing the web just like you. And every type of person is creating their own website or possibly writing something on their website that might include the word “Catholic”. This is just one word in many possible searches…

Anyone that has surfed the web has probably had the experience of hours clicking away and not actually finding what they were looking for, or possibly getting distracted by another search that wasn’t exactly related to what they set out to find. Even worse, you might end up reading or seeing something that you didn’t intend to. You may ask yourself: How can I find what I’m really looking for and find it quickly? How do I judge the credibility of what I find? How can I avoid any unpleasant results?

As a Catholic, a web designer, a network administrator, a computer programmer, and a member of Generation Y, I have spent more time than most average people working with the internet and navigating my way through the world of cyber space.

Whether you are looking up theological discussions on the Catholic teaching of Original Sin, or maybe finding out information about the World Cup in South Africa, these are some basic ideas that can help you get where you are going as safely and quickly as possible.

1. How can I find what I’m really looking for and how can I find it quickly?
My advice to you is “be specific”. A more specific search is going to help you narrow down the results. For example, if you search about homosexuality, type: “catholic church position doctrine homosexuality”. These words are hopefully going to find a Catholic site that talks about the church’s position on homosexuality.
Another good way is to ask some friends you trust or another reliable source, what websites they would recommend for doing your search. For instance, the Vatican website is always a good place to start when searching for documents on the Church’s teachings.

2. How do I judge if what comes up is a good search?
This is a very important step. Again this example will help because the word “homosexuality” is going to find many different websites. When you click into a website, look around to get a feel for the web author’s point of view and attitudes. Maybe this website is not an official Catholic viewpoint, but someone’s personal opinion. Try and find some source of authority on the website itself. A few pages without any references is probably someone’s blog of personal opinion.

3. How can I avoid any unpleasant results?
This is very important, not just for yourself but for those with families and young children. First, find a good internet filtering program that will stop you from clicking on links that will take you to those unpleasant places. Prevention is the best protection. Remember, the internet is a global resource that can be accessed and authored by any type of person.

Although there are many spiders on the web, there are also many useful tools and sources of information that can help us. The more you use the web, the more experience you will gain, but remember that no amount of experience can replace a good internet filter and trustworthy advice.



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Published by: eduardo sanpedro
Date: 2011-02-08 22:18:01
un sitio donde toda persona tiene acceso a un conocimiento mas profundo de la fe catolica.

Published by: michael eboh
Date: 2010-11-04 06:12:12
Great share indeed. I am glad to have got this insightful article. I have limited time to put in my full detailed comments. Thanks a lot.

Published by: j.immanuel
Date: 2010-11-02 23:01:27
a great help for me who does not know where to look for catholic information.

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