Changing society lead children to crime: Experts

(image) New Delhi: An eighth-grader grievously slashes his teacher`s face on being ticked off for cheating while a bunch of teenagers stab to death their schoolfriend over a petty issue – the two instances of teen rage, which occurred here within days of each other, are reflective of rapidly altering environment and society behaviours, point out experts.

Minor children are seen resorting to violence and crime influenced by various factors like unlimited access to the virtual world, easy availability of modern gadgets as well as ineffective role s at home and school, they say.

"Today I get to evaluate an average of one case per day where parents say their child is completely glued to the internet or to video games that are based on concepts of power where you either win or are killed", says Jitender Nagpal, consultant psychiatrist, Vimhans.

Nagpal says such unlimited access to the virtual world exposes children especially pre-teenagers to high risk behaviours such as the use of drugs, guns and abusive language.

School children are naturally prone to experimentation are easily vulnerable to external factors like peer pressure and need guidance from family and the school to deal with a host of issues such as anger, say psychiatrists.

"A child once came to me saying he faced a tough time not retaliating when his friends used abusive language. I bit my lips so hard that it started to bleed, he told me. I suggested he immediately leave the place and either take out his anger on a punching bag or a pillow or start dribbling a basketball," recounts Geetanjali Kumar, an expert in child and adolescent psychology.

Kumar, who works as a counsellor for CBSE schools says a society which has very low threshold of parents as role s and lack of adequate facilities in schools to counsel and impart life skills as well as to address core personality disorders such as impulse behaviour have contributed to juvenile crime.

"Parents should play a constructive role in the development of a value system. If a child is constantly witness to verbal and physical abuse at home he is likely to replicate that in real life situations," adds Kumar.

There is also a consensus between policymakers and experts about the need for teachers to be sensitised towards the emotional and psychological needs of the children which are distinct for each age group.

Usha Ram, Principal of a Delhi-based school, who has been an educator for the past 35 years says, "The instance of killing of a school boy by his friend for a sum of Rs 2,500 is something very shocking. More so that the incident has occurred in South Delhi, I really feel that it is very scary and that we have missed out on acting on early warning signs".

Ram, says making the most of health and wellness clubs on the likes of those set up in CBSE schools across the country would be a first step in the direction.

Health manuals brought out by the CBSE that has been for the past few years been part of school curriculum incorporates programs for teachers to intervene and develop life skills of children, forming peer group support for them and periodically bringing in experts from various fields to interact and conduct workshops on emotional well being of the students.

"There is no choice but to have open ended discussions with children to check the disintegration of the value system of the society into a vicious scary place," points out Ram.