Open a newspaper or switch on the radio for news and you will no doubt see a number of horrifying crimes reported there – murder, rape and robberies are no longer surprising or shocking news to the Indian citizens. But what can shock us is the fact that most, at least a third, of the crimes committed in a year are by youngsters below the age of 18. Juvenile delinquency is increasing rapidly. A large part of the world’s children are in India. Children are often perceived as the epitome of innocence and naiveté by most people. But the phrase “child-like innocence” can no longer be used, because the adolescents are one of the most violent age categories in the world. There are many incidences of crimes committed by the adolescents these days. The number of juvenile court cases are increasing and the crimes become more horrifying by the minute. There are increasing evidences of road rages, crimes against women, violence in school etc. all committed by teenagers.
Parents and others involved in a child’s life are equally responsible for the child’s hostile behavior. The amount of violence in the adolescent’s day-to-day life plays a large role in this issue, too. The child’s guardians have to take time to understand this complex problem and try to solve it; but what most of the Indian parents do is say to themselves, “He/she will grow out of it,” and simply avoid the issue, hoping it is just a phase. But this ignorant way of treating the problem is the start of a life-long trouble that will not only affect the family, but also the society, because in most of the cases of aggressive juvenile violence, the adolescent grows to be a criminal, thus delaying the development and progress of the nation. The family does not bother to think of what may be the cause of the child’s behavior.
Violent mannerisms in children can include a wide range of behaviors: explosive temper tantrums, physical aggression, fighting, bullying, homicidal thoughts, use of weaponry, cruelty towards animals, destruction of property etc. Most of this is caused by the problematic upbringing of the child – parents who pamper and spoil their children or agree to the child’s tantrums are endangering the child’s future. The television and the media can also increase a child’s violent tendencies. A child tends to imitate what he observes and this is a huge problem in India, because Indian cinema often has its heroes resort to violence to bring down their opponents. This makes the child think that using assault and bloodshed to achieve one’s needs is fine.
Video games lessen the child’s value for a human life, as most of them involve killing animated characters. Being a victim of sexual abuse, presence of firearms in the house and even head injuries during childhood can cause adolescent violence. Remember, violence always leads to violence. Now that most of the people and the Government of India are starting to recognize and address this issue, solutions have to be found and made accessible to the citizens. Parents have to look out for signs of intense anger, impulsiveness, irritability and cruelty in children and look for the reason. Feelings of revenge and vengeance should be discouraged; tell them what the Father of our Nation once said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Make it clear to them that violence does not solve anything. Only clearheaded thinking can lead to good results.
The amount of violence that the child is exposed to through media has to be restricted, but the media can also help by raising awareness and to show the children the adverse affects of violence. Developing a reading habit is also highly helpful in curbing a child’s hostility. Family conflicts, problems in school, discrimination by other children etc. should be found out and solved. Parents should not hesitate to consult a psychiatrist if necessary. Making the adolescent part of the Indian population is necessary because only calm and responsible children can grow into stable, responsible, patriotic citizens in the future.
We should remember that it is the youth that will shape our country’s future. Every child is bright in his or her own way and it is the duty of the adults to keep the light burning, for the next generation will fulfill the dreams of our great leaders and lead our nation to its victorious destiny only if our society is united, strong and nonviolent. Teach the children to follow the Mahatma’s policy, the motto that toppled the British, the strongest invading force of the past century: nonviolence.