BANGALORE: Bangaloreans were recently shaken after learning about a 14-year old boy stabbed to death by his friends at Hanumagiri Betta near Bangalore. Just when we thought children were on the rise on every criminal’s hit list, we realise that the tables have turned, and children, sparing criminals the effort, have started to commit crimes themselves.
Juvenile crime is on the rise with young children between the age of 10 to 14, committing not just petty crimes but even murder and kidnapping and these incidents call for attention as such cases are not just a trend in the city but everywhere today.
When asked about why children were resorting to such methods, child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Yesheswini Kamaraju said, “Children who are not supervised correctly or are unoccupied or have underlying psychological problems are likely to commit such crimes. With lifestyles having changed, children today are gadget freaks and lead sedentary lifestyles with very little play to occupy them, which could also play a huge role in leading them to commit crimes,” she added.
More importantly, she stressed on substance abuse and easy accessibility to weapons to be strong reasons for children to come in conflict with the law.
Another important aspect that shapes a child’s life is the environment. Schools today concentrate more on the academic excellence of a child rather than instilling values and principles. With the child spending more than 7-8 hours a day in school, most of the habits and perceptions are picked up from here. “It is therefore important for schools to instill ethics and values among children and ensure a healthy environment is created in a society where parents spend very little time with their children,” said Dr Shyam Bhat, psychiatrist at the Mind and Body clinic.
He added that children are taking to such immoral behaviour because of three main factors; fragmentation of families, decreased parental attention and increased violence in media.
“Pre-teens and teens are ages when children are most vulnerable and impressionable. It is important for parents to constantly monitor them by being their friends,” opines Akhila Vasan, parent of a 11 year old boy. Therefore, the gap between parents and children can be bridged when parents take complete responsibility and not give the power in the hands of the school to take care of their children.
“Prevention, which has to be social and early detection of such tendencies among children are some methods that could help curb anti-social tendencies among youngsters,” said Dr Bhat, when asked about the solutions to such behavioural problems.
Therefore, value systems should be given a lot more importance to ensure children have a stronger ethical base and are emotionally secure in order to be able to judge the world around them and act accordingly.