Time for introspection, Adults..
Flabbergasted – that is the word. Was searching for it for a long time when I wanted to describe the sense of awe and sorrow that I felt on hearing a social media post by a school boy.
Legal aspects aside, that incident triggered a series of thoughts in me.How come a young boy, all of 13 years, who can be expected only to be travelling with Tintin and Captain Haddock on a wild adventure or spending time with the Hardy boys on an investigative mission to solve a mystery near their household or be enticed by Harry Potter in a fantasy world, utter such a thing that is the hallmark of anti-socials alone ?
How does one come to terms with the fact that such a thing has happened at all ? It is normally expected that one speaks and writes only what harbours in own mind. How are we, as a society, to explain such a thought process in a pre-teen?Does this not reflect badly upon us, the adults, for having exposed children to such violent thoughts by means of all that we, adults, seem to eulogize and entertain?We entertain wild computer games that border on all kinds of violent themes and actions. We entertain comics that are most often so absurd that the comic figures are either human figurines that have machine parts or machines that have pieces of human elements sprinkled here and there yet indulge in all kinds of violent behavior so far unforeseen by humanity.What kind of inhuman depiction do we allow our children to watch ? We even take pride in proclaiming that our children are hooked-on to such TV programmes. Are we, the adult society, not at fault ?What is the kind of moral standing that we, adults, have when we see children indulging in such acts like the violent social media posting ? How come we have stopped supervising our children in terms of their access to such instant media?
It is one thing to keep children entertained and completely another to give all kinds of tools to them and let them ruin themselves and not care about what we have done to them.The power of internet is enormous, no doubt. Its capabilities to fetch data and thus information , beneficial as well as inimical , is known. That, coupled with the power of social media made available to a pre-teen kid is a sure recipe for disaster of gargantuan proportions. The features of the social media that enable comments and photos to be multi-cast all over the world in a fraction of second are too enormous to imagine. There have been many instances of mass violence and rioting in different parts of the world due to some false and inflammatory messages spread through social media. The message might have been simple and in twitter-verse, just 140 characters long, but the damage it causes to the social fabric is so enormous that herculean efforts are needed to restore normalcy and calm in nations. In the process, innocent lives are often lost. This makes it all the more imperative to exercise appropriate control with regards to access of such tools to youngsters.
While the governments of the world impose a minimum age of 18 even to be eligible to take a driving test ( in the case of driving related accidents, the damage caused is often to the involved parties ), the access to social media by pre-teen kids ( where the damage caused due to an innocuous message thread could be catastrophic as social media knows no boundaries and the involved parties are often located across continents ) often goes un-restricted. Is this rational at all?
In a country like Singapore where social and racial harmony are to be safeguarded at any cost, any inadvertent misdemeanor by even juveniles could result in damages that could often result in incalculable and non-elastic damages.While countries and governments are battling economic down turns, recessions and changes in climate and related issues, the problems that are introduced into societies due to such unrestricted access to media by pre-teen children need to be avoided at any cost.
It is time for us all, adults especially, to seriously introspect on the different ways children are given access to the information super highway.