There has been a recent spate of terrible acts of “one punch” violence being reported in the media. It seems that every Saturday night brings with it another story of someone’s son on life support. It makes me wonder, what has changed with our youth of today, our millennials? Or has nothing changed at all?
The culture of macho is well entwined in the Australian psyche, going back as far as Ned Kelly or maybe before! West Side Story (and Romeo and Juliet before that) all show us that men being thugs in gangs is not new news. And surely Australians INVENTED the beer ad?
There is no doubt that the rise of social media, mobile phone usage and 24/7 internet all mean that our need for around the clock information must be satisfied and the media have certainly risen to the occasion. This constant reporting of every event
unsettles us as a population and definitely leaves the impression that a “baddie” is lurking around every corner. But is he? By most reports, violent crime (with perhaps the exception of kidnapping) is diminishing. But we don’t feel any safer.
Is alcohol to blame? According to the ABS, alcohol consumption actually peaked in the 1970s (I have a sneaky suspicion it was linked to the rise of that 1970s favourite: cask wine…). Looking at recent trends in youth alcohol consumption, most sources seem to favour a decline rather than an increase. Perhaps what they are consuming just has a more dire effect (alcopop anyone?)
And whilst we don’t see many “coward’s punchers” of the X chromosome, it is widely reported that females have also become more out of control, swilling back with the best of the boys. A theory is that back when ladies were more of the faint hearted variety, they used to hold their men back when it came to a fight. If someone has some evidence of that as a successful strategy to stop two blokes brawling, I would love to see it!
So it must come back to the popular theory that those “baddie” fearing parents are to blame. Children are being kept at home more, neighbourhood play is being restricted, and children are even shielded from failing in competitive sports. Hence, many of this generation of young people haven’t experienced risk management or learnt their own limits, which is undermining their self worth leaving them hostile and angry. A&E
departments do cite a decline in injuries sustained in the outdoors – but these have been compensated for by indoor injuries, particularly RSI and spinal injuries from too much gaming time.
I find this cycle extremely sad –because parents have been trying to protect their children, it is actually leading to injuries of other children, 10 years on. In which case we can probably expect this phenomenon to persist, given that few local councils are
going to reinstate the dodgy see-saw to promote manliness, particularly in our
increased climate of legislation and blame. So how we do put our society to right
and bring back the broken arms and legs that were a rite of passage in previous