Topic:” Youth culture is a very big part of a young adult’s life. The way young adults dress, what they listen to, what they eat and what they do in their free time show how their youth culture has influenced them”. It is often said that mass media plays an important role in shaping youth culture. It is also the main cause of moral decay in youths. Discuss.
Thesis statement: Although the Internet may influence the youths to develop violent behavior, its benefits outweigh its disadvantages
Mass media plays an important role in shaping the youth culture. As we all know that in the current modern society, internet, television, radio, newspapers, magazines and other mass media has became the inseparable elements of the teenagers’ life. Internet has become one of the most indispensable components of the youth generation. It provides a powerful platform for the youth to know about the world. However, the mass amount of information that it distributes may be both positive and negative to the youths. ‘ Teen who stared at group slashed to death’. A very shocking headline appeared on Strait Times. (Tue, Nov 02, 2010, pg1) Violent behavior has already become the most notorious factor that contributes to the moral decay in youths nowadays. Violent behaviour is defined as any behaviour that causes another person any injury to the body that interferes with a person’s health or comfort, or that places them in fear of being injured. (Victoria Legal Aid [VLA], 2009) Although the Internet may influence the youths to develop violent behavior, its benefits still outweigh its disadvantages. In this essay, I will discuss about what are the other factors leading to the violent behavior in youths and how internet benefits the youth.
Internet has widened the youth’s channels of absorbing information and knowledge, but it includes those decadent and reactionary garbage information which may eventually cause the youth to get moral deviation. Website such as YouTube, a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos, allows youth to contact with violent videos easily. (Hopkins, Jim October 11, 2006) While sanguinary and violent online video game also plays a significant role in influencing the youths to develop violent behavior. Counter Strike is one of the so-called killer game where the gamer plays through the eyes of a heavily armed character and kills as many enemies as possible. The violent behavior in the game like using a knife to stab the head of an enemy can be learned by youths and in extreme cases, to kill. The overflow of information of violence has intensified the juvenile crime situation, causing variations in crime types, methods and results. In the 1980s, juvenile crime generally involves theft, fighting, stir-up-trouble crime and etc. In the 21st century, juvenile crime progresses to banded robbery, major theft even disengaged murder, armed robbery, revenge fire-tight etc. The research shows that serious crimes criminal offence has been markedly worsen. Indeed, the huge amount of information involves violence distribute by the internet plays a part in misleading the youths to develop violent behavior. However, there are still other factors contribute to the youths’ moral decay.
We can conclude another two main factors that lead to develop violent behavior in youths in the current society. They are the domestic violence and the peer pressure.
First of all, what we learn when we are young usually come from our parents, this is also why parents are their children’s first teacher. Therefore, domestic violence is undoubtedly the number one factor which cause the youths to develop violent behavior. Domestic violence is defined as violence between intimate living together or who have previously cohabited. (Eve S. Buzawa & Carl G. Buzawa, 2003) The domestic violence here is mainly referring to physical abuse. Youths are highly vulnerable to fear, anxiety and pessimism if they have been seeing family abuse or even experiencing physical abuse from their parents since they were young. Children may suffer from self-abased or even get isolated from his peers and affect their academic results and daily life. If the situation becomes severe, they may be at a greater risk of runaway or committing criminal acts. Youths will get the wrong message that it’s okay to abuse other people or let other people hurt them. Research by Browne and Angela (1987) supports a third of all children who see their mothers beaten develop emotional problems, boys who see their fathers beat their mothers are ten times more likely to be abusive in their adult intimate relationships. ‘ Boys who witness family violence are more likely to batter their female partners as adults, and girls who witness their mother’s abuse have a higher rate of being battered as adults. These common sense observations are fact, not myth.’ (Ewing & Charles Patrick, 1987) It is undeniable that domestic violence is the major factor which has caused the youths to develop violent behavior.
Another one of the biggest factors that lead to teenage violence behavior will be the peer pressure. ‘ Peer pressure may be especially strong during adolescence.’ (Kate Havelin, 2000) The teenager’s unstable mentality is being a time which may easily be influenced by their peers. For example, you might decide to buy a same brand of bag that your friends have. These kinds of behavior are usually harmless, but also can lead you to make dangerous decision. For example, one of your friends might persuade you to join his gang after you had been bullied by someone else and he told you that gang can help you revenge. Matt Monteverde (2008) stated that youths cannot resist the temptation of peer pressure. Many youths who experienced violence from their peers often worry that they may get more serious revenge if they inform the teacher or parents about the violence. We should deal with violence among youths thoroughly, or else wrong message will be given to the youths that ‘ violence can be accepted’. Peer pressure can cause the victim to gradually believe that ‘ I should be the victim of violence’ and submit to humiliation. Eventually, peer pressure would worsen the situation of violence among the youths and severity of upgrades.
Despite of being one of the factors that contributes to the development of violence in youths, internets’ benefits still far beyond its disadvantage. Research had done by the Miniwatts Marketing Group on the number of internet user on a single day throughout the world. The estimated internet users are 1, 966, 514, 816 on June 31, 2010 compare to 360, 985, 492 on Dec 31, 2000. The result shows the popularity of internet has been increased tremendously throughout the last decade. Not only because of internet’s convenience and extreme speed, but also its huge amount of information. Now we can simply classify the internets’ benefits into three main categories: research, communication and entertainment.
Firstly, youths are among the top users who surf the Internet for research. Nowadays, it is not necessary for the youth to do their research in the library as the information provided by the internet is far much more than what a book or newspaper can provide. It is almost a must for youths today to use the internet for research for the purpose of gathering resources. Teachers are encouraging their students to do research online as we can almost find any type of data on almost any kind of subject that we are looking for. Moreover, with the help of search engines like Google or Yahoo, we can get access to the information that we are looking for within just a few seconds without stepping out of the house. The efficiency and the quantity of information that internet can provide has indeed made it a virtual treasure trove of information.
‘ Communication is the most popular use of the Internet, with email topping the list of all the technologies used.’ (Ernest Ackermann & Karen Hartman, 2000) By the advent of internet, communication among people is not only confined to telephones and letters anymore. Emails have taken over the position of letters and become the number one communication tool among human beings. Software such as MSN allows us to chat online for hours with our beloved ones and we can even keep up to date with a friend who is sitting in the other part of the world just within a fraction of second. Today, we can even see each other by using web-cam for a better communication. Internet allows us to establish a kind of global friendship where you can share your thoughts, explore other cultures of different ethnicity. Again, internet has brought people an enormous convenience on communication.
Lastly, it is none other than the entertainment that internet has bring to us. Nowadays, downloading videos and music from the internet become very common among the youths. Internet has provided the platform for millions of people all over the world to exchange information and resources sharing. We can upload pictures and videos to share with overseas friends. We do not need to wait for TV series every night anymore, we can just simply surf the internet and all the series will be there for us to watch. Apart from all these, the most popular entertainment that internet has provided is internet gaming. Online game can definitely help the youths to relieve pressures on academic studies and troubles. Dawn Smith stated (2010) ‘ Internet games can help children focus. Youths who have Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, can actually sit for longer periods of time to play some of their favorite games. Not only does this help them keep focus, it also teaches them patience.’ It allows those youths who once cannot sit for a long period of time to sit longer periods as the game can engage the youths and keep their attention. According to Steven Johnson, social critic and author of “ Everything Bad Is Good For You,” it also engages a child’s decision making process, requiring children to think on their feet.
Indeed internet is a double-edged sword, just like water can float a boat, so can it swallow the ship. However, internet itself is not in wrong, the benefits it had brought to us is very obvious. The problem now is lies on how are we going to use and control it. Therefore, the ability of self-control is very important for the youths and helping the youths to develop a healthy lifestyle should be our number one objective instead of blaming Internet for been the cause of developing violent behavior in youths. While the domestic violence and peer pressures are the major cause of violence in youths today. Internet’s benefits outweigh its disadvantages and it has truly become man’s best tool in the 21st century.
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