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Published On: Mon, Dec 15th, 2014

Youth immorality: Who is to blame?

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ImmoralBy Shuaibu Ahmed Abba

Decadence of morality in the Nigerian society has reached such an alarming level that even a blind individual can see. The young leaders of tomorrow do not show respect to the elders, they behave in a way the society finds repugnant. They engage in all sorts of anti-social behavior injurious to the society. Any society that is not morally sound is bound to witness all sort of social menace as a result of decadence of moral values and cultural norms that guide the actions and conduct of individuals living within such a society. Moral values are found in our religion, culture and traditions yet our youth, for one reason or the other are not that religious, they consider our indigenous culture outdated and our traditions barbaric. Therefore they queue up to embrace westernization in its totality and abandoning our indigenous culture and tradition entirely, thereby losing their identity.

Now that the issue has been reached an alarming rate, as it is thetradition in our dear country whenever an issue arise, we pointaccusing fingers and play the blame game instead of brainstorming onhow best to tackle the problem. Some blame the parents, some pointaccusing finger to the media while others believe it’s the youth whomare responsible for their behavior or misbehavior.Whichever of them you think is responsible, you may be right and aswell be wrong. Here’s why.Parents are responsible for training their children morality,compassion, respect as well as acceptable dos and don’ts in line withsocietal values and religious dictates.

As such, they becomesresponsible for the action or inaction, behavior and attitudes oftheir children towards others from childhood to maturity. If a childbehaves well, people conclude that the child is from a disciplinedhome and if they behave otherwise, people fault the parents for notproperly training the child. You hear people complain “dint yourparents teach you this?” or “dint your parents teach you that?”The unfortunate thing now is that parents abandon theseresponsibilities. For example in a working class family, the fatherand mother goes to work in the morning when the children are going toschool, the mother will not comeback home till 5pm and the father till9pm. These children will come back from school and have the whole houseto themselves; they do whatever they like, with whatever they like andhowever they like.

This is not because they are alone, but because thehouse-help was instructed by madam and oga to play nice with the kids,should she do otherwise, she stand the risk of getting fired. Or maybethere was no such instruction but she herself wasn’t trained properly.So what is she going teach them?  Imagine asking someone to give what they never had!

Now let’s examine the media. The role of the media in society is toinform, educate, entertain and serve as the watch-dog of the society.Unfortunately, it is no longer so. The entertainment industry, forexample, through music videos, movies and some publications havesuccessfully polluted the minds of the youth and promoted indecentdressing, drinking alcohol and other harmful intoxicants, smoking,jamboree spending and other forms of immoralities we have to livewith. Such youths model their lives in accordance to any of their favourite actor, actress, musician, model and the like. This reminds meof the hypodermic needle theory and the bullet theory of masscommunication which says that all the media need to do is to send amessage and the receivers will respond accordingly.

They thereforedress, talk, walk, and misbehave like their unworthy role models withthe highest sense of justification. This may include not payingattention to school or worst, which is dropping out of the school,acting though to their parents, misbehaving in the society and the worst of all, dedicating their most productive stage of life to temporaryfun. What a mistake.

For those who blame the youth, here’s your score. Some children aregood liars and perfect pretenders. They act and behave like saints inthe house and become demons the moment they step out of it. It isuniversally believed that once a child is 18 years of age, he or shecan think and make decisions, discern between truth and false, rightand wrong, good and bad and so on. But the truth is, they need guidance and counselling of the old in order to avoid making anill-conceived decision the repercussion of which may not end on theindividual alone.

The time for blame game is over, and each and every one concernedshould take up their responsibilities. Parents, no matter how busy youmay be, find time to train your children to be the perfect child youever wanted. The media should be socially responsible to the societyand promote morals and values found in our indigenous culture andtraditions. Whereas the youth need reorientation to includecompassion, respect, tolerance and understanding.Above all, it must be understood that training the youth is acollective responsibility of the members of the society. If you trainonly your children, my untrained children whom are friends and go toschool, mosque or church, play and socialize together can spoil yourtrained children. By joining hands together we can achieve morallysound society that we can be proud to call home.

Shuaibu Ahmed Abba, Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano

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