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China Addresses Violent Youth: The Devil in Your Smart Phone

Oct. 14, 2019 (EIRNS)—Global Times Sunday addressed the fact that large portions of those arrested for violence and destruction in Hong Kong are children, pointing to the social and mental damage being done through the “internet age”—what Schiller Institute Chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche addressed several years ago as the “Devil in Your Laptop.”  Shi Tian writes: “In the past four months of social unrest in Hong Kong, of 2,379 arrested so far, 750 were aged under 18 and 104 below 16,” which a Hong Kong official called “shocking” and “heartbreaking.”

But it is not only Hong Kong—Shi Tian quotes from an article in Toronto’s Globe and Mail pointing to the fact that “the hooligan spirit is indeed being tapped,” and that “teenage protesters are commonplace in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. To some extent, young Hongkongers are learning from their Western peers.”

Why? “Growing up in the internet era, a great many adolescents observe the world through smart phones and computers,” Shi Tian writes. “They live more in a virtual world than a real one. Compared with older generations, young people have access to a broader world thanks to the internet, but they are sometimes confined to a narrower mentality.

“First, the internet tends to push teenagers to extremes. Information overload, as a result of the internet, makes it impossible for users to have an eye on all messages. Extreme ideas, under such circumstances, are more likely to catch people’s attention.”

Second, Shi writes, children spend hours playing video games, existential “one against all” conflicts in a private world. The op-ed goes on: “Some juveniles in Hong Kong don’t even understand what they are doing and only see protests as a real-life game and go to the streets for ‘fun.’ ”

Third, Shi points to the anti-social way in which youth make friends: “To link more closely with one another, members of many online groups tend to seek a common ‘enemy’ and fight against it side by side. Some young people are indulging in such a sense of belonging in the virtual world and wrecking their judgment in the real one. For instance, certain young Hongkongers see other protesters in the same camp and regard the mainland and Hong Kong police as their common ‘enemies,’ but ignore what is happening in reality.”

This is not a “Chinese” problem, Shi Tian concludes, as Europeans and Americans are well aware: Children are being brainwashed and driven out to the streets by the eco-fascists like Extinction Rebellion and FridaysForFuture. Shi Tian writes: “The internet’s adverse influence on adolescents is growing into a universal problem on a global scale.”

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