It is often reported that anti-social behaviour is on the rise and modern youth lacks respect for others.
What can be done to reduce poor behaviour in public?
Whether or not crime is getting worse is a matter of debate, but what seems certain is that the media reports it with increasing zeal. Opinion and dramatic tabloid-esque headlines of social woe have become tools in the saturated news sphere, whilst stories of declining moral standards amongst the young are two-a-penny. Yet regardless of the media’s accuracy, improving behaviour is never a bad idea and there are a number of measures that can be taken to achieve it.
Crime, depression and alienation are catalysts for a rotten society, and they have two interconnected root causes: poverty, and a sense of futility in the future. Hope can be a powerful tool in making people cooperate, and yet it has been widely reported that not only is the wealth gap increasing, but also that many of today’s young see little chance of progressing beyond the social class into which they were born. Greater fluidity between the social classes (achieved through better pay and a reduction in income monopolies) should be a priority if social spirit is to be improved.
Communities also play a key role in the way in which people act: knowing your neighbours, being involved in projects, and striving to improve your wider living environment rather than merely your own all help create a less selfish individual. More support needs to be given to community projects in order to create basic bonds not only between peers but across generations as respect is grown through communication and activities, not enforced. Simply put, any plan to reduce ‘anti-social’ behaviour needs ‘social’ solutions.
One final possibility in the fight to curb anti-social behaviour, albeit arguably not immediately achievable, is a switch from judging success through economics and materialism to happiness. Chasing a financial dream is a never-ending goal for many individuals, and a repeating pointless cycle for entire societies. The notion that personal wealth opens opportunities for happiness is a catalyst for work and selfishness rather than enjoyment and altruism. This equation needs rebalanced, with greater rewards for the ‘caring’ roles in society.
In conclusion, whilst there is not yet concrete proof that social attitudes are declining, there are broad social movements that can be done anyway. A fairer, juster and more inclusive society is the first step in making people believe in communities and others rather than only themselves. This, rather than sensationalism and selfishness, should be a person’s (and humankind’s) principle aim.