'Online Superstition' Poisoning Teenagers

Superstitious activities on the Internet, such as horoscope-related "fortune-telling," are misleading Chinese teenagers and distracting their concentration on study, a Chinese lawmaker has warned.

"The traditional superstition has put on the cloak of modern high technology, poisoning an increasing number of Chinese kids and youth," said Xu Xiuyu, a deputy to the Tenth National People's Congress (NPC), China's national legislature which is now convening its annual full session in Beijing.

A recent survey among the country's middle school students showed that 88 percent of the respondents didn't believe in "any forms of traditional superstition" at all, but nearly half of them said they would like to believe the "high-tech forecasts" offered on the Internet, Xu noted.

"And some 11 percent of the surveyed students even claimed that they would fully count on the guidance of 'online fortune-telling' if they meet something hard to decide on in real life," Xu added.

Pointing to the fact that fortune-telling and soothsaying websites "are mushrooming" on the Internet in recent years, Xu said many teenagers originally visited these websites "simply for fun," but gradually got addicted to them even without self- consciousness.

"I heard many parents complain that their children have lost interest in study after they were intoxicated by such websites," Xu noted.

The lawmaker believes that the teenagers' growing addiction to "online superstition" might have arisen from the mounting pressure of life and study on them, as well as a lack of self-development goals.

"And many of them have fallen for the 'high-tech superstition' without realizing its superstitious nature at all," Xu added.

The lawmaker urged parents and teachers across the country to be fully aware of the harms "online superstition" can do to the physical and mental health of the teenagers, and help their children and students "clearly differentiate science from superstition" and "resist the temptation of 'pseudo high-tech superstition'."

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2006)

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