Are the youth simply throwing their lives down a long and winding pipeline which leads to nothing but an empty space somewhere in this prodigious yet opportunistic world we live in? It’s a question one must think about now that the new generation has decided to place their priorities in an order which astounds all.
If we were to put aside the priorities of less importance, such as homework for example, or eating healthily, or even taking an interest in what happens in the real world, we are left with the most essential decisions a teenager may have to make. What to wear, who to send a text message to next and most importantly which coloured contact lenses will look best.
There is a growing concern with the youth of today as they have become incessantly obsessed with new technology and how to look better than their peers. Now as we know from basic economic factors competition never has been a bad policy however, this growing competition has led to nothing but stereotyping and a lack of awareness of the more important factors in life.
In the world we live in today, it is extremely difficult to be able to walk down a street without being stereotyped as a “kind” of person without e having said a word. However having spoken, the images that people may already have of you are adapted once again. Furthermore the chance of bumping into people who are ridiculously engrossed in to their mobile phone screens is nothing out of the ordinary.
The use of text messaging in the UK has risen substantially. In the year 2001, 1.4 billion text messages were sent in January, and consequently “Happy New Year” texts arrived days later as networks were blocked. The novelty of owning a mobile phone has never left the human mind, due to more and more phones escalating onto the market. With new and improved technology, competition arises. However this feel good factor of owning a mobile telephone does not exceed the fact that because of excessive text messaging, major health risks are emerging. Experts have stated that repeating the same movement could lead to repetitive strain injury, where you damage your muscles and tendons. This same argument is used in relation to a computer keyboard, whilst on the internet, or playing games.
Furthermore, it is claimed by psychologists that the regular use of text messaging or e-mailing can reduce your IQ level more than twice as much as it would do if you were smoking marijuana. Now this statistic evidently conveys the idea that the youth of today are truly throwing their lives away. A person who has never even dreamt of smoking or drinking, could simply be wasting their inside knowledge by the use of text messaging and e-mailing.
In addition, we have all heard of addiction to alcohol or smoking and are still trying to tackle this problem. However, we may have a new case on our hands, an addiction to text messaging. As absurd as this may seem, in the past eighteen months there has been a rise in people that have a greater interest in text messaging than their own work. Symptoms of text addition include an overwhelming compulsion to send text messages, taking precedence over all other activities, and withdrawal symptoms of irritability and agitation when the compulsion is denied. The head of the Priory’s addiction unit, claims that like dependence of alcohol and drugs, addictions to technology conveys a desire to escape from underlying emotional problems, depression or anxiety. Like alcohol, text messaging in small quantities does not pose a problem. However, it is only when text messaging becomes the point of convergence of a person’s life, does it need to be tackled in the same way as other known addictions.
Moreover this immoderate habit, has affected not only the youth but the older generation also. Researchers have claimed that more than six in ten (62 per cent) of people polled admit they were addicted to checking their e-mail and text messages so assiduously that they scrutinised work-related ones even when at home or on holiday.
Another underlying problem of e-mailing and text messaging is the poor language used. This use of language has a significant effect on the way a person’s speaking habits will develop. The problems of dropping the letter “g” and “t” off the end of words can affect a person’s speaking and writing qualities also. The shortening of words that the youth of today use, leads to problems when they are told to write an essay or piece of coursework which is perfectly punctuated and has a sufficient level of good grammar. A typical text message would read: “hey, how u doin? Wat u up 2 2dai? U wna cum out 2nite wiv me n ma m8s? Txt me bak xxx.” The only thing I see correct in this text message is the use of a question mark after a question and that is only if the sender is not too tired to type it in. From this “typical” text message, notably there are far too many mistakes and imperfections to explain them all. Words are misspelt, the use of numbers is involved in words, and are shortened ridiculously. After typing messages like these, day in and day out, it is very hard to sit beside a computer and have the ability to type correctly. Not only typing but people, tend to adapt to speaking in this way also, which then leads to a problem that we move on to, stereotyping, or as our youth would pronounce, “stereotypin”.
Nowadays, we wonder why people are apprehensive as to what to wear, simply because items and the brand names of selected clothing have been associated with different kinds of people. The way these associations are increasing, in a couple of year’s time, we will be lucky if we can wear anything without being stereotyped.
The all time favourite is the image given to people who live in Essex. The assumptions made of the Essex habitants include them owning Escorts which contain furry dice, wearing white stiletto heals and shell suits. This image is not a good representation of all the people who live in Essex. However the way in which the human mind works results in judging of a character simply on the basis of where they come from. This clearly may enrage the people that live in Essex, because they are given almost an inferior image to that of other people.
However it does not end here. In the recent couple of years there has been a great uproar about a group of people who go by the name of “chavs”. Now this commotion has actually led to a fully established website to be formed which simply mocks the “chavs” in our world. From the information given on this website there are particular characteristics as to what makes a “chav”. These “chavs” tend to always wear baseball caps, mainly Burberry, they wear banded sports shirts and jackets and white trainers which must be spotless white. Further to this list, for the women specifically, they wear big hooped earrings and sovereign rings. These items, be it clothing or jewellery have been connected to the “chav” community and so wearing any of these items listed would not be safe when avoiding being categorised as a “chav”. The people of today I feel do not realise that the meaning behind people wearing similar clothes may simply be down to fashion and similar preferences. For example, Burberry clothes are now linked to the “chav” community and the justification behind this is not convincing. People never stopped to think about the fact that, a couple of years back particularly between 2002-2003; Burberry was the epitome of style. Burberry is a luxury brand with a distinctive British sensibility, strong international recognition and differentiating brand values that resonate across a multi-generational and dual-gender audience. Therefore, Burberry appeals to all genders and so more and more people started to wear Burberry just as people would with any other brands of clothing that were in fashion in that particular year or season.
Furthermore, if clothing was to be put aside, these so called “chavs” have also been assigned to listening to certain types of music. Three types in particular, which consist of, Rap, R & B and Dance. Now it just so happens that up to 75% of the music that we listen to these days is covered in these three categories. This shows the extent to how this stereotyping is simply useless when trying to divide the people in society into groups.
Nevertheless, a generalisation is made for all those that live in Essex. There is an underlying point that Essex is large territorially and not all the areas are the same in terms of culture and backgrounds of the people that live there. Each area, have diverse living and speaking conditions therefore I believe that a handful of people can not be representative of the whole of the Essex population.
However, regardless of how unjust stereotyping maybe, the concept of being viewed as a certain “type” of person appeals to people and they do all they can to make up this image. This then leads to competition as mentioned earlier, between peers. Followed by a knock on effect on the youth of today as they seem to be more engaged in trying to look like someone they are not and adapting to talking in a different way. An example that has inaugurated in recent years, is that English words out of the Oxford dictionary are being used but with different meanings, in an attempt to fit in with other people. Where this trend originated from, is not known as yet, but this example conveys the idea that the youth of today spend more time trying to reproduce the English dictionary with far “cooler” words than spending time on trying to make the most of their education and life outside this faï¿½ade.
These new and improved words that have been invented and given new meanings, can cause much confusion if they are said to people who have no acknowledgement of them whatsoever. Nowadays, if we were to take a word such as, good for example, the thesaurus would no doubt show many synonyms as it is widely used. However in slang terms, words such as “heavy” and “legal” are used to convey the idea that something is good. In the dictionary if these words were looked up, I am sure that they would not be the equivalent to the definition of the word good. However, the most complication arises when the word “bad” is used to mean “good”. This just seems disorientated, that the youth feel that using the antonym of a word seems to be a better way of expressing their feelings. This could lead to confusion and a collapse of a conversation in that, to some extent, by using “bad” as “good” someone can simply misinterpret what you are saying. It just seems needless.
In addition, the male sex, seem to address every other male they meet with the words, “brother” and “bread”. This almost seems like a mockery, by calling someone a staple food made from flour and on the other hand by calling someone your brother, you are by definition sharing a common ancestry in some way. This is on a higher personal level, and this may even offend people, as they may see it as an invasion of their personal identity, and once again may lead to confusion for people who do not know of this new “language”. This could lead to obvious misconceptions that day by day, more and more people are related to each other. All of this simply to fit in with the crowd, we have a perfectly acceptable English dictionary and so evidently trying to re-discover a new so called “urban dictionary” as one may call it, seems absurd.
To conclude, if the youth of today are the future then I feel that one must worry. It is conveyed by all the evidence above that in recent years, the youth of today simply are not concentrating on the far more useful and significant factors in their lives. Their greatest concern or worry maybe that their ipod battery has run out, or their mobile phone isn’t up to date or they haven’t got the latest jeans in fashion. I believe that the youth should enjoy their lives to the full extent but there clearly needs to be a balance. The issue of stereotyping, I believe has had a major impact on the way the youth are today, as it is a way of rebelling against being similar to everyone around you. The more this faï¿½ade is carried on, the greater the impact it has on their lives and speaking habits. They do not understand the extent to which this could harm their own abilities in the future.
The biggest worry that this entire essay highlights are that the youth of today may simply stop wanting to learn as it may not “fit in” with their image. They already seem to think that English words are too long and need to be abbreviated and the use of mathematical numbers should be used in words such as “m8s”. They also seem to think the Oxford dictionary should have better meanings of words and have all the time in the world making up words to fit in with their routine. On the other hand, the youth of today may thrive in drama lessons, as they already seem to be doing an outstanding job in their everyday lives.
* The Times Newspaper