How can we reach our kids?
Is our youth population going astray?
The youth seem to be the everywhere these days. Every conversation, every talking point — discussions about the youth are pervasive.
But not all discussions are made in a positive light. A lot of our youths are involved in various forms of crime, and these stories make the newspapers and other forms of media. It’s inescapable.
What is the reason behind all this?
Before I try and delve into the heart of the matter, I want to remind everyone of Adnan Kabir — a student of class IX. He was killed in a clash between two teenage gangs — Nine Star and Disco Boys.
My only question is: Where were the parents in all of this?
Sociologists have suggested repeatedly how it is important for parents to spend time with their children — talking to them, understanding them. The bond between parents and their children is essential.
And every parent needs to understand this. If that bond is frayed, children tend to go astray.
There are next to no avenues of recreation for our children, definitely not in the capital. Given the size and scope of the capital, we need at least 1,300 playgrounds, where there are only 235 split between the two city corporations.
Children and teens cannot be expected to shoulder the ungodly amount of exams and lessons with no scope for entertainment or physical exertion. Yes, the guardians have a crucial role in shaping the mind of their children, but it is equally important to equip them with sufficient scope for entertainment and catharsis — be it in an empty field or in the library.
Given the rat race that our education system has become, it only makes sense to tip the scales in the favour of more fun for our children.
But that’s not enough to explain why a lot of these kids are resorting to crime. It’s not a big secret that a slow decay of values and morality has taken root in our society, which might be one of the reasons behind the minds of our youth getting corrupted as well.
But it’s not like we’ve completely abandoned any and all values. No, what is perhaps wrong is that reprobates and criminals are not getting punished, which sets a bad precedent for the up and coming generations.
When criminals of both high and low stature are allowed to live scot-free in our society (think of rapists and sexual assaulters), what message does it send to our youth?
Now imagine what would happen if our children actually got exposed to these criminals? Started spending time with them?
I believe it is entirely possible to reduce teenage delinquency.
It is possible to bring our youth back from the gangs and send them back on the path to righteousness. What we need is kindness, along with long-term planning.
We need to keep them engaged in activities and nourish their minds through recreation and proper education.
Children and teenagers should be encouraged to read books without requiring them to hand over their phones and other gadgets.
If a child is involved in various activities including sports, theatre, music, and cultural activities, from a young age, then their youth will be most rewarding.
Benoy Dutta is an author and journalist. This article has been translated by Md Afroz Islam.