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Cardinal slams toxic social media ‘virus’

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Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, is pictured in a 2017, photo. He has previously urged for the development of ‘true communications’ in the digital era.

Children risk ‘moral mortality’ in digital era, prelate warns

Cardinal Charles Bo of Myanmar has warned of a pandemic of misuse of social media as young people are fed a “toxic cocktail” of hatred and abusive behaviour including pornography.

“A section of the younger generation is fed with a toxic cocktail of narratives of hatred, compulsive abusive behaviour, addictive pornography and other cluster bombs of negativity,” Cardinal Bo said in a homily on 24 May, which was World Communications Day as well as the feast of the Ascension.

The 72-year-old cardinal said while the new coronavirus may withdraw as a threat if a vaccine is developed, evil made viral through social media will inflict “moral mortality” on younger generations.

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“What is the contribution of social media to the next generation? Social media COVID will inflict moral mortality on our younger generation,” he said.

Cardinal Bo, who is also president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, said that fake news and false narratives have weakened human relationships and social harmony.

“The stories these evil persons spread on the net has viscerally wounded the next generation,” he said, adding that “even the children are not spared”.

“Evil men teach hatred and evil to children.”

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