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Rise in juvenile crime: Time to recheck social, moral fibre?

Monday, 1 October 2012 - 6:10pm IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

With the age of first-time offenders dropping to a new low in the past few years, Speak Up tries to gauge what drives today's youth to crime.

The involvement of a 20-year-old and a minor in the kidnap and murder of 5-year-old Shubh Raval has again shifted the focus on the increase in the rate of juvenile crimes in the city. Speak Up tries to gauge what drives youngsters to commit such crimes...

Deteriorating parent-child relations responsible
In my observation, the reason for the rising trend of criminal
tendencies among youngsters in our society is due to the deteriorating family structure and parent-child relationship.

The games that today’s children play on their cellphones, laptops or personal computers are full of violence and aggression. Even the TV programmes and movies nowadays are crime related and have violent content. It is the duty of the parents to check how much of education value is there in these programmes.

The fact is that today’s children have very few options for venting their natural teenage aggression. There is minimal communication even in friend circles, except for playing games. In such a scenario, children, especially the youth, do not know where to stop or what are the consequences of getting involved in criminal activities. Parents are responsible for teaching their
children how to live a normal life within their limits. I want to say that juveniles involved in crimes are not criminals, in fact, they are victims of society.
—Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe, executive director, Dnyanadevi Childline

Overexposure to media to be blamed for rise in juvenile crime

For the rise in juvenile delinquency, I would blame the media and its overexposure among children. Today’s youth watch crime serials on TV with a lot of interest. Those who have criminal instincts together with intelligence and need fast money can easily get inspired by such serials and movies with heavy dose of violence.

Tools like cellphones, motorbikes, laptops, computers, along with branded clothes, have become to-be-had-at-any-cost for youngsters even if their parents cannot afford or do not want to buy such things for them.

I would also blame the computer games that the youth play today as they involve a lot of aggression. Today, violence is being used in media for thrill, which is likely to develop an urge to kill or hurt, in young minds.

Among parents that come to my clinic, 99.9% have complained of peer pressure and about their children not having good friends due to which s/he have taken up smoking, drugs, etc.        
—Dr Seema Darode, Clinical Psychologist

Absence of love is bound to impact tender minds negatively

The love factor is vanishing very fast from our society. A child who is showered with love and understanding from his parents and the social circle will never develop criminal tendencies or get into such activities.

I don’t blame the violent content in today’s media because violence has always been a way of our expression of victory of good over evil. From the ancient times, our history has shown that good and evil have always been depicted together in verbal, written and visual forms.

Today, the same things are shown in our movies or on the Internet. What is missing is love and empathy. Due to various social and lifestyle constraints, parents are unable to show their love for their children. Our social structure is becoming less and less conducive to bringing up a child. Absence of love and understanding is bound to have a negative psychological impact on tender minds.    
—Urmila Samson, Parent

Lack of values is another reason for the rise in trend

In my opinion, there are three factors behind the disturbing trend of increasing criminal tendencies among youngsters in our society. Due to deterioration of family structure, parents are unable to control their children. Another reason is that value orientation is not happening and children do not know what role they have to play while mingling in society.

Besides, overexposure to Internet, TV and peer pressure are increasing the children’s curiosity. For example, if parents indulge in partying, drinking, or smoking, etc., it is naturally going to affect their children. There are a lot of checks and controls that parents can use while bringing up children and it all depends on how they use these control mechanisms.

Today’s children are highly privileged as whatever they want is made available to them by their parents and because of this they are losing social sensitivity. The habit of reading has almost vanished among youngsters; they are learning whatever is being shown in movies, TV or on Internet.        
—Deepak Walokar, Director,
Karve Institute of Social Services

Judge them on the basis of the crime, not their age
Yes, juvenile crime rate has increased in Pune. Our children are unsafe. In my son’s case, his friend was the one who planned the whole thing. Similarly, in Shubh’s case, the suspects were known to the family and the boy who provided information about Shubh is a minor.

Nowadays, parents are pampering their wards by giving them pocket money. Due to this children start thinking that money is everything and they can buy anything with it. This kind of an attitude is leading to rise in criminal tendencies among juveniles. These young criminals are let off after a few years in remand home because of their age, but the acts that they commit are no less than one committed by a historysheeter.

In such cases, a suspect’s age should not be considered, in fact, his offence should be taken into consideration while sentencing. The parents of such children are working and are unable to give time to their wards. They do not even have time to impart some moral or cultural values to their children. Rise in such crimes in Pune is destroying the city’s reputation.
—Mahadeo Shirke, father of Shubham Shirke

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