Hong Kong youth’s craving for “likes” on social networks is a symptom of narcissism that could work against them later in life, a government advisor and academic warned.
Wong Chack-kie, a full-time member of the Central Policy Unit of the Hong Kong government and a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Social Work, said narcissists only care for themselves while seeking the approval and admiration of peers in whatever they do.
Eventually, they will not achieve anything and become losers, RTHK quoted Wong as saying.
He said young people should learn more about China and its culture while communicating with the older generation.
However, another academic said it is dangerous for the government and its think tank to judge the youth from Wong’s viewpoint.
Shiu Ka-chun, a lecturer at the Department of Social Work of Hong Kong Baptist University, said if the government continues to criticize the youth, it will never be able to communicate with them, much less win their hearts and minds, Ming Pao Daily reported.
Shiu had joined young activists in protest sites during the pro-democracy Occupy campaign.
Wong’s remarks echoed those made by Hau Kit-tai, also a Chinese University professor, who said at the height of the Occupy protests that young activists were obsessed with “likes” — they post anti-government messages online simply to attract attention and secure approval from Facebook friends and followers.
Although Hau drew much criticism from netizens and the university’s student union, he refused to retract his statement.
“My words might have been strong, but it was all because I really care about them,” Hau was quoted as saying.
Speaking in a Digital Broadcasting Corp. program, Wong said the youngsters who led the Occupy campaign gain most of their information from the internet.
As a result, these young people could be easily misled by online media and could end up committing irresponsible acts, he said.
Meanwhile, government officials find themselves struggling in an unfair game as they couldn’t possibly respond to all of the online opinions against them, Wong said.
The government should set up an independent investigation committee to look into the roots of the youth’s discontent that led to the Occupy movement and to come up with measures to address them, he said.
Wong noted that many of the young protesters were found to be arrogant and lacking in self-reflection and critical thinking.
Their parents and teachers should be responsible for such a situation, he said.
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