In Star Trek cannon, the Prime Directive states that when visiting a "pre-warp" planet, no revelation of the existence of interplanetary travel and alien species can be revealed to the planets' inhabitants. To do so might alter the natural development of the society on the planet.
Roddenberry's thinking (and that of many notable sci-fi authors of his era) was that a crude, pre-warp society had not reached a theoretical milestone in it's ethical development that predated warp technology development. To introduce warp drives, the idea that alien civilizations exist on other planets, and other advanced technologies like food replicators and teleportation would create an "indians with guns" society, where the natives, armed with things they did not fully understand, would use them inappropriately.
Could this philosophy be not only testable, but true? This report out of China is that the sudden access millions of Chinese have gained to the internet is quickly destroying their teen and young adult populations. The kids "can't sleep, can't concentrate and are wracked by bouts of anxiety or depression" and they "escape" to internet cafes and find it hard to leave.
Could it be that China, having blocked widespread internet usage for years, made a terrible mistake not introducing their society to the internet back when the internet was in its' infancy? It's likely, I believe, that what is happening now is that the young, supple minds of the Chinese are being sucked in not by the internet itself, but by the fact that they have no resistance to the highly-developed systems the internet has in place.
Can you imagine, if you were using the internet for the first time and no one had warned you, how you would react when a pop-up window opened up and told you "YOU'RE A WINNER!!" and asked you to "click to win a PS3!!" You would undoubtedly click. Here in the states, people quickly learn to filter out the garbage. Open any page, even a google search, and you see ads everywhere. But you have to look for them because we've learned to filter garbage, and advertising. We've learned that all those "singles" who happen to live in our town are actually stock photos of bikini models and they'll never surface if you click the link.
So I think China is faced with a violation of the Prime Directive, they're basically being exposed to wildly advanced technology and they (through no fault of their own) don't yet have the maturity to handle all they can access. I'm sure they'll catch up, and soon. But for now, as far as the internet is concerned, they are a society of children holding the car keys.
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