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Anonymous Anna wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • I know disobeying your parents is a sin but is getting internet accounts for various websites like [suppressed] without their knowledge sinful, if they haven't told you that you can't get one?

I'm asking because I just made an account on [suppressed], and am going to Confession soon.

Thanks in advance.

Anna
Age 14

  { If they haven't prohibited it, can I get an internet account for a website without my parent's OK? }

Bob replied:

Dear Friend,

As long as you are living under your parents care, yes, it is a sin to do what they forbade.

Parents have authority over children (those who are still depend on them for care: food, housing, safety, education, etc), because they are responsible for them. When you have responsibility for something, you also will have authority.

For example, parents often teach their children responsibility by making them sharers in their own authority when they delegate some tasks to them. That is how God also acts. He gives a share in his own authority when he makes us responsible for certain things. The only shareholders in God's authority mentioned in the Commandments are parents. You are supposed to honor them by heeding what they say (as long as they don't ask you to do something objectively evil).

They are responsible for your safety, so they have authority in this area. Even the secular law acknowledges this and, as parents, they can be held accountable legally for your welfare.

As you get older, depending on how you handle responsibility, your parents will give you more and more responsibility until finally, one day, you will be completely responsible for yourself. Then only you answer to God (and maybe your boss at work, unless you start your own business.)

Kids that handle responsibility well and trust their parents to give them the appropriate share as they are ready, will actually mature more quickly.

The culture lies to the youth and tells them they should make all decisions for themselves and seek independence as quickly as possible. Don't listen. You will develop fast enough without trying to rush it.

Your parents undoubtedly have concerns about safety on the internet, because it is an extremely dangerous place, even though it is a powerful tool. Every day young people get fooled by someone online and risk their safety.

There is also a plethora of porn and other incredibly harmful media that can really harm young people. Porn can be like heroin, better never to go there.

You should have very open discussions about the internet and keep your parents in-the-know on this and your activity. Trust me, it is in your best interest not to keep your internet life away from them — that is a recipe for disaster.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Dear Anna,

Just to clarify Bob's excellent answer, even though your parents have not forbid you to get internet accounts, paraphrasing what he said, you should have very open discussions about the internet with them and keep them in the loop on relevant internet activity you have.

For short: Check with them first.

You should take everything to heart in Bob's excellent answer.

Mike

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