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Synod on Youth: Instrumentum Laboris, young people easy prey for “fake news” and “dark web”, risking “isolation” as “Hikikomori” syndrome

Young people today are grappling with the phenomenon of “fake news”, that is, the uncontrollable spread of false stories through the (digital and non-digital) media, and the increasing difficulty in distinguishing them from the real stories. This is according to the Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod on Young People, which argues that young people need to be “accompanied” in the digital world, to avoid being “confused” in the world of “post-truth”. “The arrival of digital technologies is beginning to have profound impacts on the notions of time and space, on the perception of self, others and the world, and on the way we communicate, learn, and get informed”, the document points out: “A superficial use of digital media puts us at risk of isolation, even extreme – a phenomenon known as ‘hikikomori’ in Japanese which affects a growing number of young people in many countries, especially in Asia –, and leads us to take refuge in an illusory and fleeting happiness that generates forms of addictions”. Hence the need to “resolutely deal with the issue of accompaniment towards a responsible use of digital technologies”, to “address the widespread crisis of pornography, online child abuse, cyber-bullying, and video games” that fuel interpersonal relations marked by violence, the “dark web”. By contrast, prominence should be given to music and big musical events, as well as to sport as an educational and pastoral tool.

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