"Hidden Youth": A Rising Phenomenon in Asia
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“Hidden youth” is an increasingly popular term in Hong Kong and across Asia (especially Japan). So, who are these “hidden youth”? These are young people who are neither in education nor employment, and spent most of their time at home, playing video games. They typically have limited social interactions with the outside world, and attention has been drawn to them due to extreme murder cases. “Hidden youth” have withdrawn themselves from society, unable to establish or express them. This is not only a problem for their families and their future, but also a problem for Hong Kong society.
What causes this phenomenon? “Hidden youth” choose to stay at home because video games give them an addictive sense of fulfilment and pleasure. Their families are usually well-off, so they are not concerned for their futures, and bullying at school can create isolation and anti-social behaviour. They often struggle with feeling lost, and so cannot see their value and importance. With the rising “hidden youth” situation, self-harm, suicide and depression has also been on the rise. Finding a job as an inexperienced youth is difficult, and many lost hope.
What can we do? There is limited things that we can do to help “hidden youth” who do not want to change their lives. Social workers try to engage these youth through counselling, and government programs aim to reduce youth unemployment. However, more needs to be done- society should not stigmatise these youth, who still have so much potential. Long term efforts need to made to help these youth in need.
Have you ever had contact with hidden youth? How would you
solve this problem? Is there anything similar going on in your
country? I'd love to read your input!