Saturday, 10 October 2015  -  26 Dhul-Hijjah 1436 H
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Teens, weapons and violence

Experts cite poor family ties, social media for surge in brutish behavior

Last updated: Friday, October 09, 2015 4:34 PM


Saudi Gazette report


OVER the past few years, an increasing number of young Saudi men have been involved in violent public confrontations where weapons were brandished or used. Many of them get in a fight and use weapons such as guns, knives and sharp tools.

Very often, these fights, which start over trivial matters, end tragically with a death. Al-Riyadh daily spoke to several experts who outlined the social and economic factors that prompt teenagers to resort to violence.

Dr. Abdullah Rabeeq, a legal researcher, voiced concern on the rising number of stories about violence involving teenagers in the media. “Our sons are fighting with one another. Nowadays, a misunderstanding, provocative move or even a swear word can spark a fight that can end up in someone losing their life. The killer will regret it later, especially if the victim’s family refuses to take any blood money and insist on execution of the murderer,” Rabeeq said.

He went on to say that families are to blame for not keeping a close eye on the behavior of their teenage sons. He also faulted education institutions and security bodies for failing to raise adequate public awareness on the dangers and consequences of carrying unlicensed weapons in public.

“Many young men carry guns or knives under the pretext that they want to be able to defend themselves should anything unexpected arise. Little do these young men know that carrying these guns will either land them behind bars or even on death row,” he added.

Role of families

Dr. Zaid Derayes, a criminologist, said a great deal of blame behind the violent behavior of teenagers falls on parents. He also said social media websites and violent video games can have a big impact on the behavior of teenagers.

“Many teenagers boast of their weapons and brandish a gun or a knife when they get in a fight or altercation with someone. The impact of social and economic pressure should be taken into consideration when looking into the pattern of violent behavior among teenagers,” Derayes said.

Sociologist Tahani Abdulhadi said there is a clear link between behavioral changes among teens and violence as a result of the modern technological changes that have taken place in Saudi society.

“A large number of young men and women spend hours and hours on social media websites and get influenced by the ideas spewed by unknown sources and accounts. The only solution for this problem is make families more aware of it and of the importance of instilling good values in their children’s minds at an early age.”

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