Don’t give up on the youth

THERE are many challenges facing our youth.

However, if we are to be fair we would admit that this observation is being repeated world-wide and this is not a new phenomenon.
In fact every generation would look at their younger counterparts and shake their heads in disapproval at their every action as though they have never done anything wrong when they were that age.

Over the years we have heard names such as Generation X, Generation Y, millennials and the Lost Generation to describe the young people in our society.

Certainly these concerns are raised against the backdrop of a perceived shift in the moral compass as each decade passes by. Many deduce that with the advances in technology and advent of social media, persons are becoming more detached as a result of a platform which ironically is supposed to keep them more connected.
The one concern this writer has deals specifically with the social media craze, that persons are doing their all to keep up appearances by any means necessary.
It teaches them everything they need to know, while on the other hand it teaches them many things that they would be better off not seeing.

With no filters, unlimited access to information, a need to show-off to their friends on social media and bagging about things that they do not necessarily own, all come together to make a dangerous cocktail. Many persons, particularly kids end up participating in acts that unfortunately are damaging or illegal. You see acts of bullying in its many forms posted as though they are jokes, when in fact, someone is suffering in silence.

The reality is however, that just like the other generations over the past three or four decades which people felt were simply being rebellious or self-destructive (yet we turned out fine), there must be some form of intervention to ensure that they are not sucked into the abyss of self-loathing after exhibiting delusions of grandeur in a world which can be carefully crafted to create an illusion of perfection.

This online space allows persons to sit behind a computer or phone screen and say the meanest things to perfect strangers because they have no real fear of repercussions and quite frankly, they are protected by a username and a private account. In the real world they may very well be unaccomplished, in Bajan parlance, ‘can’t rub two pennies together’ and hating those who have more.

This invariably and inevitably will lead to frustration and anger which at some point will manifest itself and arguably we are seeing the effects of this social media pressure.

Parents, teachers and mentors generally will have to do a lot more to make persons realise the impacts that these platforms are having and that we could possibly have a generation of persons existing behind a screen, but not seeing the monetary benefits that could be derived from their presence online.
At the end of the day, this generation, like the ones before cannot be written off like an old car. However, addressing the dangers that are associated with living behind the screen and somehow getting them to engage in training for critical thinking and earning a living through the same platform. Let’s not forget that this generation will shape the others to come, so turning our backs will be to our detriment in the not so distant future.

Barbados Advocate

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Advocate Publishers (2000) Inc
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