What is wrong with today’s youth?

The issue is not new – each new generation grows up with a different set of values to their parents, only to lament 20 years on what their own children are up to. This post outlines my own concerns with the current generation of teenagers.

Some would claim that it is essential for young people to contest the value system of their parents, rebel against the accepted rules, stamp their own mark on the World around them. If this leads to arguments within the families, run-ins with the authorities and challenges the social norms, so be it. Apparently it is a part of the formative process of young characters and also forges the collective identity of the generation. It is precisely in this context that I am concerned about what is going on with the youths today.

They do not rebel enough.

My daughter normally plugs her IPod to the stereo system in the car. The music she plays is perfectly listenable. The beat is easy on the ear, lyrics (by and large) well written and the overall presentation very pleasing. Her music sounds professional, band members can play their instruments, singers sing in pitch and articulate emotions beautifully. Brought up on hard rock I am finding the music young people listen to very disturbing. There simply is not enough aggression, madness and desperation in it. Where are the distorted guitar solos, gut-thumping bass lines and screaming vocals? Had I not been a jazz junkie I would likely put Bruno Mars or Lady Gaga on myself on a mellow Sunday afternoon. Can one even grow into a responsible, mature, independent thinking adult without listening to Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors or Ramones? Lack of exposure to their lewd, aggressive and anti-social music can have a devastating effect of young, forming minds.

Another example – I regularly get reprimanded for speeding by my children. Aren’t young people supposed to enjoy tearing down the roads with the pedal floored? It also worries me that the youth of today appear to be dressing very tidily, even conservatively. Not being able to express one’s individuality through dreadlocks, mohawks or leather jackets with obscenities painted on them must lead to the repression of the dark side of psyche. Tolerating this situation is a dangerous social experiment the results of which are highly uncertain.

The last aspect of this disturbing trend is the general way the teenagers I know think about the future. It is well documented how the young generation of the 1960s lived the idealistic hippie dream (often with chemical enhancement). This was followed by the nihilistic “no future” approach of the 1970s, then the self-indulgence of the disco era and the sickening dumbed down rap culture. Compared to these periods the youth of today appear to be very level headed and responsible. It is one thing to speculate but the issue hit home for me when my own son once declared “if you do not get into the Uni you are screwed”. I cannot imagine a more startling example of the disturbing set of attitudes presented by the young people today.

This abnormal situation also has a huge, although not commonly appreciated, impact on the parents. I mean – how are we supposed to do the usual parent thing of repeatedly drilling the basics of social behaviour into our children if they do not rebel against them? How can we carry on nagging about being courteous to the seniors and considerate to all-in-sundry if the anti-social behaviour is at a premium among the young people these days? This undermines the very structure of the society we are trying to preserve and pass on to the next generation.


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