Thursday, September 7, 2017

Stay Positive in Difficult Times


“There was a time when life was simple and social equations even simpler. Society consisted of an older generation and a younger generation and the twain met somewhere in between. Along came the New Age sociologist with trendy buzzwords and PowerPoint presentations and, suddenly, entire generations were reduced to alphabets; the X Generation, the Y Generation, the e-Generation, the Millennials and the newly coined iGeneration. The old socialist mantra of "rice in every bowl" has now been replaced with "a cell phone in every hand". Better educated, with greater spending power and technically savvy, the urban young have an enormous role to play in shaping the India of the future, but they are just not sure how to go about doing that.” (Source: India Today)

Its soul wrenching to see the youth, with endless possibilities, empowered with latest technology, going haywire. It isn’t an exaggeration. Various incidents, reports, statistics and surveys reveal a horrifying scenario. Equipped with everything, today’s youth feels empty and directionless deep inside, unable to combat the societal pressures, policing, expectations and comparisons. A mind troubled with dilemma and a heart governed by materialistic urges, replacing sensitivity unfortunately reflects the reality of the urban youth. But again I would like to put forth my favourite question. Who is responsible for this plight of these budding, impressionable minds and hearts?
Without further ado, I would talk about the recent horrific trend of the ‘Blue Whale Game’. “It is an Internet "game" that is claimed to exist in several countries. The game allegedly consists of a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators during a 50-day period, with the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide. Blue Whale began in Russia in 2013 and allegedly caused its first suicide in 2015. Philipp Budeikin, a former psychology student who was expelled from his university, claimed that he invented the game. Budeikin stated that his purpose was to "clean" the society by pushing to suicide those he deemed as having no value.” (Source: Wikipedia)
It is disturbing to learn from different sources regarding the ill-effects of this “game” which is playing havoc with the life of teenagers.  In a recent incident a student of class X, from a small town, became so influenced or terrorized by the instructions of the game that she attempted to end her life. Fortunately, she was saved but others have not been so fortunate. Like the other countries where the game is spreading, India too is taking steps to combat the terror of this menace.
In August 2017, the Government of India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology directed several internet companies (including Google, Facebook, and Yahoo) to remove all links which direct users to the game. The fear of the game has been so that one of the largest educational boards in the country sent advisories to various schools and parents. Even the Judiciary has taken suo motu cognizance of this dangerous situation and directed the government to take immediate steps so that the future of the country is saved. But this isn’t enough as the cases related to this are increasing day by day. Interestingly, In Brazil, in response to the game, a designer and a publicity agent from São Paulo created a movement called Baleia Rosa (Pink Whale), which became viral and relied on the collaboration of hundreds of volunteers. The movement is based on positive tasks that value life and combat depression. In May 2017, Tencent, China's largest Internet service portal closed 12 suspicious Blue Whale-related network groups on its social networking platform QQ, as the number of this kind of groups is on the rise. The search results of related keywords were also blocked in QQ. (Source: Wikipedia)
Well, again the question arises; should internet be blamed for this plight of the present generation? Are these applications and games more influential than family values, affection, communication and faith? Of course not, but then the current situation has exposed the deteriorating condition of our society. The influence of these negativities has put a question mark on the familial values, education system and parent- child relationship. These games and sites are expositing the loopholes in out much celebrated family and education system and its high time that we realize that the problem lies within our approach rather than simply criticizing western influence. This game is yet again a catalyst that has triggered the last onslaught of the already existing broiling situation. It is time that we stop the blame game and realize that the foundation is shaky. The values and principles that are being inculcated in the kids aren’t enough to keep them firm in testing situations. The youth of today is utterly lonely and confused and yearns for communication and guidance. But its scarcity has directed them to seek pleasure and solace otherwise. And this is how sites, applications and games such as the one discussed above easily engulf the psyche of these perplexed individuals struggling for an identity and meaning of their existence.
Another terrible problem that has been detrimental to the society is that of drug abuse among teenagers. This horror isn’t new but recent reports show that this evil is spreading in small cities and towns and engulfing the teenagers rapidly. Every now and then we can read news where teenagers were caught in hookah bars and rave parties, consuming drugs and undesirable drinks. But the main question arises that why the Indian society is experiencing such a dilemma where more of the teenagers and youths are involved in unethical and unproductive activities.. The youths are topping the charts for the wrong reasons this time around.
This brings me back to the question I raised in the beginning of this article. Are kids responsible for the menace that is clutching them in its fetters? No one wants to be an addict of such games and drugs. Why do kids end up being trapped in such things? What is the weak link? The reasons are the same that I have been discussing in my articles time and again:
·         Loneliness and peer pressure: teenagers are influenced by their friends. The fear of being left out and lonely encourages them to be part of groups. Any wrong influence in such circles can deeply affect them as peers play a major role during teenage.
·         Family problems and lack of healthy communication: children get deeply affected by family issues and quarrels. This disturbs then and they seek peace in staying away from such situations. This can make them vulnerable.
·         Sheer pressure of studies and unhealthy competition: education has become a race, 5 to 6 hours of coaching and tuitions; pressure of scoring more and getting into best of universities is killing the hobbies and passions of the students.
·         Lack of guidance to channelize their energy: most of the times kids are not aware of how to use their leisure time as they are not guided to involve in outdoor games and constructive activities away from their expensive gadgets.
·         Erratic Lifestyle: late night parties and improper food and sleep habits distract the students and make them lag behind, thereby leading to frustration and distraction.
·         Unhealthy and overuse of gadgets and internet: in the name of providing everything to the kids parents blindly give them the best of gadgets and internet facilities without taking care of what the kids are browsing and how much time do they spend on it.
·         Lack of values and adequate family time: parents are unable to give adequate time to the kids on daily basis and NO the need of quality time cannot be compensated with any kind of “facilities and luxuries”. The “trend” of nuclear families is taking away from the students the ideas of sharing, care and sensitivity which are a necessity in the present times.

We know the reasons but we don’t have time to find solutions. Rather we aren’t even being observant enough to notice the behavioural changes our kids are going through. Their anger, frustration and depression are considered to be their tantrums. There are symptoms that parents/family members and teachers should look out for so that a child can be saved at the right time before evils like these games and sites can work on them to provide them the so called “escape” from real life. Children suffering because of the above stated reasons show symptoms like: neglecting responsibilities at school or at home, low performance academically and staying away or alone for most of the time, showing indifference in family gatherings, losing temper easily and getting into nasty things for petty issues, frequently getting into fights, feeling lethargic, anxious and irritated, sudden loss of appetite or over eating in some cases and loss of sleep patterns or over sleeping in some cases.
How can one stop this peril and lead the kids towards a normal, peaceful life?
It is time to ask yourself these questions and find a concrete solution otherwise the future is going to be dark and ambiguous. What the kids need today is proper motivation and guidance to inculcate the wisdom of differentiating between constructive recreational activities and vain pleasures based on material gratification. The kids today need examples and not lectures. You don’t have to be just a parent or a teacher rather you will have to be a socially aware, accepting, understanding and worth emulating guide for the kids of the present generation.
Parents as well as teachers will have to channelize the kids in the right direction “practically”:
 
·         Observe: keep an eye on the peer groups and friends the kids are engaged with. Monitor their internet activities time to time. Notice and look for the above stated symptoms.
·         Communicate: talk to the kids about their daily experiences and instead of dictating opinions, help them find logical solutions so that they can have faith on you and can easily communicate their problems to you.
·         Facilitate: instead of providing 24 hour internet connection and play station, make sure that they have facility to play outdoor games and if possible evening walks with friends and family members where they can discuss current issues or their day. Teachers can help them express themselves in verbal and written class activities giving them a chance to express.
·         Engage: instead of expensive foreign trips make sure that kids can spend a healthy weekend with the parents. Spend dinner time or lunch time together and express your feelings to the kid and give importance to their ideas and opinions.
·         Listen: sometimes we need to simply listen to their regales without giving lectures and philosophizing. This helps them lighten their hearts and you win their trust and it makes them easy for them to come to you in the times of trouble.
·         Inculcate: instead of lecturing them on moral values we will have to show them how to respect by setting examples. We can teach them the principles of honesty, reverence, hygiene, integrity by doing it themselves.
·         Set Examples:  “Effective parenting requires being the grown up version of what you want your children to be. Why? Because example is the most compelling superpower.” 
― 
Richelle E. GoodrichSlaying Dragons.  Well, this point is self explanatory. If you want your kids to be ideal, be an idol. If you want them to be well read, read. If you want them to be sensitive, sensitize. If you want them to be well mannered, show them how it is done. If you want them to use internet judiciously, limit your use of the gadgets at least in front of them. Tell them the wondrous aspect of internet comprising coursera, dictionary.com, ted talks, grammarly, quiz apps, blogs and so on.

Evil is lurking in every nook and corner but I stay positive about the future because lotus blooms in murky waters. The youth of today has the potential to be this lotus flower. We cannot blame such games, technological advancements or western influence only for the present scenario just to hide our short comings. It’s time to gain perspective, realize and take responsibility. I would conclude with this quote:

“Raising children uses every bit of your being - your heart, your time, your patience, your foresight, your intuition to protect them, and you have to use all of this while trying to figure out how to discipline them.” Nicole Ari Parker.

2 comments:

  1. Respected Sir
    It's really a wonderful article. Not only attention brought towards problem but causes are also described clearly. Now it's responsibility of all of us to keep children away from such games and drugs.

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  2. very nice article , throwing light on the problems of teenagers in present time, the causes of the problems have been mentioned very clearly and what can be done to solve these problems are given in very precise and simple manner. I am sure if the parents and teachers would follow the suggestion given in this article there is no chance that our innocent children would fall prey to these evils spreaded in our society. Again if i would say in a line "just give your time to your child and listen to your child , play with him, spend time with him, your company will never let your child to go in wrong direction"

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