Take Away The Audience and Reduce Teen Misbehavior
I'm listening to the news this morning and find myself drawn into a report where yet another group of teenagers have beaten the heck out of some poor kid on a school bus. This time, the student allegedly only asked to sit down. The brutal beating was caught on the bus' surveillance camera. The victim was left seizing and unconscious. What the heck is going on? Is this sort of thing happening more often - or is it because of technology we're hearing about it more often? Moreover, would this even be happening if there wasn't an audience around to take it all in?
Escalating Teen Violence?
I don't think this is happening more often - but I do believe we are hearing about it more often. I was in high school in the 70's and I can assure you not a day went by when there wasn't some type of fight planned for after school. News would spread like wildfire. An audience would gather to watch. The next day attendees owned their bragging rights.
Of course there was also the occassional beating that took place during school hours. I'll never forget the time I was late for class and a group of girls were ganging up on a lone victim in an empty hallway. They were pulling her hair and slinging her into the concrete walls. The offense? She wouldn't let one of the girls borrow her brush.
Is It All For Show?
How about the influx of You Tube videos showing teen brutality? When I first moved to Florida there was a case in Lakeland, Flordia where a video was made of a group of girls brutalizing a "friend" at a slumber party. Later that night, the attack was posted on You Tube. What on Earth? Why is this happenening over and over again? What is the common denominator in all of these situations? I believe the answer is an audience. I am convinced that without attention from an audience - most teen assaults would never take place.
Is the Media to Blame?
Yes - partially. I believe without the prospect of a little fame - most teenage assaults would not take place. Be it word-of-mouth, the Internet or the news - if these incidents were not being shown and sensationalized - over, and over, and over again - most kids wouldn't even bother to fight.
Imagine the same school bus scenario - this time without passengers to witness and without available footage to air on the evening news. Could you imagine such an event even taking place?
Is There a Solution?
Where would crime plotters be without the internet or the media? What would be the fun of terrorizing someone if there wasn't anyone around to impress? Can we stop the presses? Control the media? Govern the Internet? Not in a democratic or free society. Then what? What is it going to take for teens to thrive on positive recognition as opposed to negative? Maybe when more recognition is given to good deed doers!
Where is a little hype about the teen who makes straight A's? Or the teen who never missed a single soccer practice? Everyone enjoys the limelight once in a while...why not give more attention to the kids who day after day make good decisions - then to the low lifes who don't? You can't tell me in this day and time - we wouldn't just as soon hear a story about a teen who is thriving than one who is not. Give me a society where terror has no audience - and I'l give you a world where good could triumph over evil.
The media, schools, and parents - should share a positive story about an everyday teenager to their respective audiences - at least once a day!