Bhopal: In last few months, three cases of school students committing murders or attempting to commit one have come to light in the country. And all the three incidents occurred in elite schools located in cities where children of upper and upper-middle class families study.

A cross section of city residents whom Free Press talked to find this trend “disturbing”, “horrible” and “disgusting” and blame crumbling joint family system, unfettered access to internet, loss of empathy and inter-personal relations and communication gap between parents and children.

The joint family system, they say, provided an emotional cushion to the children. “Suppose the parents of a child are quarrelling, he or she can always find solace in grandparents’ arms. But that is no longer available,” said Dr Satyakant Trivedi, senior consultant in psychiatry department of Bansal Hospital. “Joint family provided emotional ventilation to children,” he added.

Prem Gupta, director, Children’s Theatre Academy draws attention to another feature of modern families – single child. “Most families now have only one child or two children. These children do not have brothers or sisters to share their innermost feeling. Besides, these kids are pampered so much so that they don’t take no for an answer. The result is that when they face admonition or disappointment, their fury knows no bounds. They are ready to kill themselves or others,” he said.

Sunita Saxena, who retired as principal of Subhash School of Excellence, said that children spend most of their time with mobile phones and computers. “They hardly play outdoor games and that deprives them of a safe way of giving vent to their aggression,” she said.

Dr Raghvendra Sharma, chairman of MP Commission for Protection of Child Rights views this trend not as a law and order but as a social problem. “The communication gap between parents and children is growing,” he said and added that moms and dads busy with their life and careers have little time to monitor the activities of their children.

The way out

Dr Trivedi’s prescription is to include emotion and stress management in syllabi. According to Sharma, MPCPR has been urging the school managements to compulsorily appoint counsellors who can note changes in the behaviour of a child and take corrective steps.
Sunita Saxena said that parents and teachers need to understand children’s psychology. “Children’s socio-economic background, mental makeup should be considered while counseling,” she remarked.

Infuse moral values: Chitnis

Minister for woman and child development Archana Chitnis refuses to blame the modern technology alone for the alarming trend. “What is important is to put modern tech to proper use. Science is a good servant but a bad master,” she says. Moral values should be infused into children and they should be taught how to distinguish between the right and the wrong. “Everything depends on how they are brought up,” Chitnis said.

“Suffocating discipline”

Chanchal Singh, a homemaker, said suffocating discipline in schools and homes cause such a situation. Parents need to become friendly with their children and instill positive values in them. “Technology has shrunk this world. Mobiles and laptops have made violence, crime, pornography etc accessible to children. Parents, teachers, government all should join hands to arrest this disturbing trend,” she said.

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