The PCF's web page for children is online.
Prof. Lodovica Cima, educator and children's writer, was called to be the scientific consultant of this new communication tool. A few weeks ago, we asked her some questions.
A new children's web site of the Pontifical Council for the Family: Why is it so important today to speak to them directly?
Children are a key component of the family, and we like to think of children as people who are growing, on their way to adulthood, and who, of course, have the same dignity as adults. Consequently, there is no group to be filled or to accompany because it is absolutely incapable of being alone; but we want to share and tell young people about beautiful realities.
What are the main features of this new web page, which will soon be online?
The primary goal is to be simple, which does not mean being simplistic but truly simple: this is a difficult goal to achieve, but that we will nevertheless try to reach. On the hand, we can say that the page will certainly be colorful, full of contributions, including from the children themselves, that will go along on two important tracks that we will always follow. The first is the world of the Pope: the life of the Pope, the Pope in connection with children—but also with families that have children. The main figure then is the present Pope, together with all the other popes who gave special attention to children; yet, no less important is the discovery of the place where the Pope lives, with all its symbols and events of universal significance. The second track, on the other hand, is the family as home, as a small church, where the child lives, and then also the homes of other children around the world, because the Pontifical Council for the Family brings together the families from all parts of the globe, who live far from one another—they are not in the same neighborhood—yet have something in common.
Does it make sense to talk to children? Why do it, what fruit could this bear? Moreover, why must this be a concern of the Church as well?
Communicating directly to children is first and foremost an act of great respect for them. It is a challenge for the Church, because children will be tomorrow's adults, and opening up to the world of childhood, trying to communicate with their logic, their codes, their simplicity—but without trivializing—is a very important intent that comes from the desire to take them by the hand and welcome them, sharing with them the content that we wish to tell and transmit. Then, they will also have ample space to send their ideas.
How do teenagers and children communicate today?
Actually, from the viewpoint of language, they are far ahead of the adults, in the sense that, because they experience more, they are a bit more flexible, less formal. They are the ones who create almost all the new words and, consequently, they have a so to speak "more modern" way of communicating. They also go more easily from one medium to another, and this strongly encourages us to follow them, to get to know their habits. Their way of approaching content is always based on two levels. The first is emotional: therefore, they are attracted by an emotion, which may be positive or negative: the second level is, on the other hand, cognitive: it is up to us adults to produce content for them that will catch them on the first level and then accompany them on the second—the cognitive—level, where they will retain knowledge, acquired skills, as a treasure.