Sandana Sharma (name changed) never deciphered that letting an adolescent grow would be such a big problem in a city like Guwahati. Mother of a 16 year old, she has to struggle with issues that were implausible 5 years back. The city’s changing sky scape bears the testimony of the changing times while the very active new generation determines that the definition of fun and excitement has changed considerably over the years.
“For us pocket money more than a thousand was unthought-of of, but now my daughter demands more than 10,000 rupees per month, which is equivalent to a whole month’s salary and sadly even that does not suffice her regular needs,” complains the mother.
Mrs Sharma is definitely not the only mother who has to go through such issues but the growing commercialisation of fun and the trend to spend on cellular phones, food and parties are definitely on the rise.
True that Guwahati city does not really wake up during festivities. Every time one walks into the icy cold malls or the squeaky clean coffee shops or the very delectably full fast food joints there is hardly any room or peace.
People just swarm these places and one wonders whether the seats have just gone lesser or the people just keep getting more. It is no more just a place where families want to hang around together for a weekend celebration but a regular get together joint.
A sizeable population here are teenagers or school kids dressed to the hilt and ordering almost half of the menu without veering at the price. Disposable money for the teens is like the newest thing. Almost every birthday party is a big event to be organised at the plush brand food joint where spending is not at all an issue and demands for the latest vehicle in town or the most upgraded gadget is definitely on the fore.
Cocky looking teenagers with an attitude that not necessarily goes with their outfit sway their heads to the tunes of heavy death metal bands, while many aimlessly wander around the malls trying to fit into the accepted norms of the’ rebels without a cause’ forum.
According to a recent article in The India Today surveys reveal*, it’s a generation that spends 10 hours a day on some sort of a media, two hours on social networking sites, 1.6 hours on the phone, four hours 23 minutes a week on computer games. While 66 per cent carry mobile phones to school, 47 per cent can’t live without TV. Over 45 per cent drink alcohol five times a month and 14 per cent use tobacco. Yet 70 per cent teens show signs of depression and 48 per cent think about suicide.
For a generation infatuated with touch screens and interactive devices nothing really is a private matter anymore. From break up’s to link ups, from love to relationships with benefits, everything is just a status update, with instant reaction from a very similar age group. While
The nation that boasts of 250 million teenagers also has it own set of issues and Guwahati city is not an exception.
Dr Minati Pathak, a mother of two adolescent believes that though the current generation is bombarded with a lot of information and exposure from a very tender age, the mis- utilization of this could be potentially dangerous.
“We should have youth centres or even clubs where the young ones can utilise their energy and also do something meaningful. The energy that they have is tremendous, all that it requires is streamlining them to proper forum, be it sport, music or art” says the mother.
And it is not just the mother but many people also believe that the city needs forums for the young ones to divert their energies and at the same time become responsible citizens.
According to a leading Psychiatrist in the city, this phenomenon is a very common problem faced by parents of adolescent where they do not know the new rules of letting them grow and do not know where to draw the line.
“Parents should not allow them to splurge without cause this creates artificial needs. They should also keep a count as to where the money of their wards is spent and what are the hang out places they frequent. These basic knowledge coupled with a some restrictions at home is absolutely essential,” added the psychiatrist.
With the increasing urbanisation and escalating standard of living, one can only hope that the youth power is not muddled between fast food, brand fixation, computer games and social sites alone rather the energy is diverted into better avenues for the years to come.
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