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Unrest, youth and smart phones

The pictures and reports coming from England over the past few days are disturbing to say the least. That the unrest is coming mainly from the youth, however, is not surprising. Whilst one can label the latest violence on the streets of London that has spread to other parts of England, as the work of ‘yobs’ and ‘hooligans’, it is only mimicking the student activism that went before in March. I say, ‘mimicking’ because one might say students have a genuine grievance – budget cuts have forced them to actually pay for their tuition – but the wanton destruction and looting of property taking place now is abhorrent to everyone who has a brain. The wide use of the Blackberry BBM, iPhones and Twitter accounts by the youth to stir up and inflame the violence is a real cause for alarm. On just one BBM in Twitter during the mayhem, it read, “There’s a recruitment broadcast going around on bbm to gather hoodrats to start a riot. Just received 3 BBM Messages detailing a new organised ‘Riot’ plan complete with ‘Loot Rules’.”

Blackberry has targeted Britain’s urban youth for years through its long-standing partnership with rapper Jay-Z and various hip-hop concerts they have promoted. Here in the Cayman Islands LIME has been heavily promoting Blackberry with all sorts of data plans, Internet service together with plans entitled Blackberry Social giving unlimited use of Blackberry applications  for the social networks – Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. It is the youth that is being targeted here, too.

It is common knowledge that the armed criminal elements here (the scumbags) that have been robbing local businesses have been using Blackberrys to receive information from a hidden accomplice to target and make their getaway. The accomplice is able to message them where the police are.

It takes very little to start a riot. It’s like a fire. A small spark, the right conditions and you have an inferno on your hands. The youth here is disenchanted. There is unemployment on a scale never felt here before and they are the ones taking the brunt of it. Most of the crime taking place here now is from the youth. They need something to do and they need money. They need to feel they are part of the community. The youth is our future and what I see for the future is not a pretty sight. Let us hope what is happening in England will not happen here. It’s no use our saying it cannot happen. Having lived in England for over half my life I never thought I would witness these horrific scenes today. It’s the 20th anniversary of the Internet and progress always comes at a price. It’s not only a gun that can be used as a weapon. In idle hands, anything is there for the taking. And our youth know how to use the latest technology better than anyone else.


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