The Agents of Social Change On the Face of Violence

Posted on February 24, 2010 in Society, Youth Affairs

Marian Fernando:

Modern society hails the YOUTH as the most powerful agent of social change. And it is indeed. Yet, are all those agents, with all their strengths and potentials for healing the wounds of the world, using their powers and aptitudes to what they are supposed to do? Despite consolidating peace and harmony, do they not spread violence and decay in it? Before, holding young folks responsible for the violence they produce, it is worth identifying youth and its catalysts for violence.

Who are the youth? According to the UN general assembly, youth are those “individuals aged from 15-24”.1 Also, 18% of the world’s population is composed of the youth, and 85% of the world’s youth belong to developing countries alone. 2 The Youth are energetic, dynamic and daring; above all, are easily evoked to violence governed by emotion more than reason. Therefore, youth is decidedly vulnerable to violence. However, violence is not an innate quality of the youth; there could be myriads of factors that drag youth to violence.

The Youth do not form the first step in the process of life, people step from childhood to adolescence to youth respectively. In each and every step, man needs love. Depending upon the age, the required love varies. During childhood, a child needs love from a caregiver. In adolescence, youngsters need a distant but close relationship from their parents. Then in youth, they get freed from their parents and search love from a lover- mostly from the opposite sex. Therefore, childhood and adolescence become the stages of life where adults, especially parents can guide the children or the adolescence. If a rift is created between parents and children from an early age, the parents lose their precious opportunity of directing their children to the correct path. Modern mothers and fathers, who are always soaked in their office work, beauty consciousness and other affairs, forget that their children need their love and care. They forget that their children are the utmost priority amidst all other affairs that they attend to. Likewise a gap is developed gradually between parents and their children. The ultimate result comes in the form of disobedient children who ultimately go out and find their own social homes. Those homes are their violence-oriented gangs, the places where they build up trust, loyalty, strength and power. The more they get attached to the gangs, the more they become committed to violence. As a united gang, thereafter, they get involved in crimes not as a discreditable, surreptitious event, but as their way of life. In this manner, children and adolescence enter their youth as criminals of the society. United Kingdom’s online news paper Telegraph reported in 2008 that “violent crime carried out by children and teenagers has gone up by a third in only three years.” The article discusses “family breakdowns” as one of the main factors for modern youth to be led astray in violence.

Additionally, drug abuse by the parents is another powerful factor that could produce violent children that grow up to be destructive youth. When the mother duck says “peep peep!,” it cannot not expect from its baby-ducks imitating her sound. Similarly, parents who are into drugs cannot expect their children not to use drugs or become violent. From the very first stage of their lives, these children see, hear and get to know wrong doing of their parents from the day they begin to know the world. How could those parents deny that they are the violence generators of their children?
Moreover, illicit drugs that are also expensive intoxicate people and make them unconscious of what they are doing. Thus, drug addiction can lead into two kinds of violence. One type is the violence because of the anger and other uncontrollable emotions generated by the intoxication. The other is the violence caused by robberies and other crimes done in search of money to buy expensive drugs to fulfill the irrepressible addiction. Unfortunately, the youth are a terrible victim of drugs. The ASK (Adolescence Substance abuse Knowledge base) reports that in 2000, more than 2 million of them were of the age group 12- 17 years had used inhalants at least once in their lifetime. 3Likewise, drug addiction victimizes the youth in so many ways including engendering suicidal emotions and violence in the addicts.
In addition to the above factors, ethnic issues including discrimination against one’s own race and inferiority complex placed on one’s own ethnicity, wars, peer pressure, gang pressure, unemployment, poor performance at school, lack of rehabilitation for drug addicts and abused children and adolescence and influences of media and technology counting movies that capture violence, are some other causes for violence among youth.
Violence is not static; it grows day by day as the aforementioned factors influence the youth day by day. Therefore, there should be a solution for this issue of violence among the youth. Governments have an important role to play to obliterate these causes of youth violence; parents should be made aware about the impacts of the family values on children and youth. Governments should make sure that no youth is left unemployed unless they are disabled. Education should be accessible to all, and children should be taught what is good and what is bad from the very beginning of their lives. Parents should try to tighten up their relationships with their children and always try to be their children’s friends rather being bossy parents, so that the secrets are revealed and no danger is unrevealed. Also, parents should have good conversations with children in order to advice and guide their children. While enforcing appropriate punishments, healthy rehabilitation should be provided to the youth crimes and violence sought out. Restrictions should be imposed on the movies and video games that evoke violence in front of children. The youth should be motivated to use their talents, and aptitudes to social change. Through workshops and other encouraging movements the youth should be assured of their great potentials for social change. Vulnerable groups of young folks should be encouraged to get involved in fine arts which shall help reduce their growing rage and violent behavior. Wiping out violence among the youth is not one bit easy, yet, it is also NOT IMPOSIBLE.

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