In this age, we can no longer solely put the blame of our youths’ behavior on them.
The environment and the things that surround them have impacted negatively on their lifestyle. An element of originality is now missing in our youths, they are now living under the influence of what they see, read and experience. Unfortunately, some are not even aware of this.
We cannot overlook how our youths have become sexually active. It’s not that they all feel it is just exciting or it’s the way to go. The environment surrounding them has greatly influenced their high sexual behavior. Pornography videos and magazines are a determining factor in the downfall of many teens today. Almost every youth has easy access to the internet, where there are lots of pornography websites. This easy access and exposure has virtually made it possible for them to think that sex is perfectly permissible and exciting.
The movies they watch and the talk shows they listen to have also influenced the sexual behavior of the youths. The messages they absorb from the movies and talk shows have actually promoted sexual behavior in this group.
The movies do not expose the ugly side of premarital sex. In fact, they just present it as something that is part of culture.
Here in Botswana, some children as young as twelve have already become sexually active.
And Botswana is not alone.
This kind of behavior can also be attributed to the influence of friends at school and at tertiary institutions. Friends have an enormous influence on one another.
Whether it is what style of clothes to wear or the kind of music they listen to, peer influence and pressure are always present. A youth’s life revolves around their social life.
In the case of boys, they think having sex makes them masculine and somehow puts them above others, especially women. They even think it is a cool thing to do when one gets drunk and makes a fool of themselves. As friends, they influence one another to indulge in such things.
Many youths are scared to refuse their friends’ advice because they fear to be made fun of or to be called sissies or cowards.
In such conditions we cannot blame our youths for the behavior such behavior. How can we, friends spend more time with our children than we do.
Yeah teens might argue saying they choose how they want to act or dress but they also choose to be influenced by the music they listen to. Different genres of music have different influences.
Some music makes people hyper and energized, some angry and violent. Music has a psychological effect upon people; it has a lot of influence.
As I walk in the streets, I see boys wearing shirts hanging to their knees and shorts down to their ankles just as they do in rap and hip-hop music videos.
Music has affected the way teens talk, they are always swearing, talking about the uselessness of life, raw sex, calling each other n**** some cannot finish a sentence without saying the ‘f’ word.
Music has the power to manipulate and influence youths; if an outraged youth listens to some destructive, violent, murder, drug music they may feel the need to break something or even to hurt him or herself. There are so many reports of passion killings in Botswana; this reaction can also be attributed to the influence of music upon the teen’s behavior.
The life of our youths revolves around celebrities. Celebrities carry a tremendous influence on dressing; they have become the gatekeepers of fashion, determining what is trendy and what is not. Many youths are immersed in magazines, movies TV shows and they are taking their fashion cues from there.
The way youths dress is influenced by celebrities.
One Gaborone girl told Sunday Standard that “celebrities are my personal fashion innovators”.
Some girls listen to the lyrics of songs or comments by celebrities in regard to the ‘ideal’ body image and start to mimic the so-called celebrity.
When they look at Victoria Beckham and see her looking frail, with her bones sticking out, they too want to lose some kilos so that they look like her.
All one has to do is visit the gyms around town and see the beautiful well-rounded African women huffing and puffing to lose weight and be like the stars they see on television.
Oh, Precious Ramotswa, where are you!
The messages they receive force them to develop a complex on how they look. After watching the girls in the background of 50 Cents videos, most girls want to be sexy and noticed by boys in the same way.
Some youths are lost. They see and hear musicians and believe that they are stable or cool people to imitate and aspire to be like them.
When they hear about their favourite celebrity being high on drugs or in rehab, they are impressed.
This has influenced many of our youths into taking drugs.
It is, indeed, a dilemma for our youths, who have failed to stand and face the world on their own without the influence of their surroundings or celebrities.