Archive for July 4th, 2008

Teen violence and crime

| 04/07/2008 | 0 Comments

By Felicia Rankin (Year 11, JGHS) – Posted 4 July 2008

More than anything I would love to inform you that teen violence and
crime is decreasing on our island. But unfortunately that is the exact
opposite of the truth. Things have in fact been worsening. And it
makes you stop and wonder…what in the world is wrong with these
younger generations?

In my personal opinion, I think that as citizens of this island you
should stop sitting on the sidelines watching as things go from bad to
worse, and stop thinking of all the “wonderful” things you do for your
children, and start thinking of all the things you DON’T do for your
children.

I, as a young Caymanian, still attend high school, so I witness social
issues every day and sometimes I’m even faced with some for myself. So
I have a very good idea of what I am writing about. I witness teens in
school with the foulest of attitudes, ranging from profanity,
disrespect for staff and students, defacing school property, and even
racism.

It has even gotten so bad that at a simple event such as a school
talent show police cars are parked ready and waiting. Dogs trained for
finding drugs have been brought onto school grounds. Assemblies are
set up for teachers to preach to us to behave better as if we are
still kindergartners. These are just a few things that sadly have to
be done for this crumbling generation.

I do think that the media has a lot to do with how teenagers act these
days. When you listen to the derogatory lyrics of popular music genres
such as rap, reggae and soca, it’s quite shocking to hear what makes
music “fun” these days, and it should come as no surprise that, since
its popular, that’s why children so easily follow the lyrics’
instructions.

Like listening to artists like 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg, whose lyrics
almost always speak about violence, drug use and disrespect to women.
And they present it in such a way that makes it seem highly appealing,
especially to young men. They see how men such as those artists “made
it” with their rude remarks and thug attitudes, and figure it worked
for them so why not for me? So they start with bad behavior, which
attracts more bad behaved boys, and they feed off of each other
encouraging one another to continue walking the wrong path. This all
leads to fights, drug dealing and, as a result, sometimes even death.
Even movies can portray things that give teens a false idea of how
they should be.

Just like it says in the song by The Black Eyed Peas, “Negative images
is the main criteria, infecting the young minds faster than bacteria,
kids want to act like what they see in the cinema.” That simple lyric
from the song describeswhat I’m trying to explain perfectly.

But I do not completely blame the media. Because, by the time you have
grown to be a teenager, you already have a strong sense of the
difference between wrong and right. Therefore, teens are more than
able to make a lot of their own choices, but they choose the wrong
thing. There are numerous reasons for this.

Peer pressure is one of the main reasons: to be around your peers and
have them try to tempt you into doing the wrong thing; to have someone
force you into something either by threatening you or by saying it’ll
make you fit in and become popular. As everyone knows, all teenagers
want to have a good school experience. And how do you have that? By
having lots of popular friends and have people love, respect and
admire you. People naturally long to be accepted, especially if they
feel like they aren’t being loved and respected at home.

Which is where my next point comes in. Some parents sadly aren’t doing
the best job in raising their children. Some have a very ‘Que Sera
Sera’ attitude. Some parents just look at teen issues as unimportant
and silly. Most parents do not seem to realize that times are changing
drastically and being a teenager these days is a lot harder than it
used to be. The majority of parents out there will completely disagree
because we have better classrooms, easier transportation, better
clothing, computers and iPods. Those are material things that at the
end of the day don’t matter. What really matters is the attention and
understanding you show your children and, of course, the values you
instill in them.

When I speak to some of my peers and hear how their parents treat and
raise them, it astonishes me how horrible some of those parents are.
And their bad parenting is reflected through their children. It’s easy
to notice because those teens are the ones who are known to be the
troublemakers. Those kids are usually very aggressive, always ready to
insult a teacher, harass others, and even fight and threaten to kill
students at outside events such as Batabano or Pirates Week. I have
even heard from some students that there are parents who encourage
them to carry out violent acts and even to disrespect teachers. Now
how else do you expect kids to turn out with parents like that, when
they are teaching their kids about how to deal with life but going
about it completely the wrong way? Other parents bully and put down
their kids. They may either physically or mentally abuse their
children. Doing that has a great negative impact on a child.

All of those things affect a child greatly and may explain why these
younger generations seem to be losing their minds. Lately, drunk
driving, drive-by shootings, stabbings, bar fights, drug dealing, and
murders seem to be occurring more often in our society, especially
with young adults. Now that is something we don’t need to become part
of regular Caymanian life. Something needs to be done and it needs to
be done fast. Is this what Cayman is coming to, a place that can’t be
called paradise anymore? Is it soon going to become a place filled
with crime, where our youth will be looked upon as criminals and the
ruination of this island? I hope it will never come to that. But I ask
you, if you care about the future of this island, what are you willing
to do about it?

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