YouTube Causing Food Fights?

    June 15, 2007

Internet video sites such as YouTube are being singled out as helping to encourage high school students in Montreal to participate in food fights.



Police said on Thursday there was an incident at a high school in southwestern Montreal in which 20 officers with batons were needed for three hours to end a food fight that had become a full blown riot.

Montreal police said students are using the Internet to prepare for the fights and posting videos on YouTube. Police said the latest incident was the third food fight at a Montreal area high school in a week.

"We all know food fights but the difference in these ones is that now it’s kind of a growing thing," said Sgt. Ian Lafreniere. "Students are doing installations on YouTube, trying to be more provocative."

One school’s principal, Luc Beliveau, said they were on alert after two cafeterias nearby were involved in food fights. Videos of those fights were uploaded to Youtube and another threatened that Beliveau’s school would be next.

"It’s not unique to us," Beliveau said. "It’s from that famous site that incites children to give themselves to kinds of activities that are not always positive."

Some find blaming YouTube and the Internet for such incidents hard to swallow.

"If the students had planned it by speaking to each other, do you think there’d be an article about the evils of conversation?" said McGill University communications professor Jonathan Sterne.

Principal Beliveau did agree saying "Kids are not worse now than when we were young," he said. "It just may be amplified, or appear worse, or circulate faster by the Internet."