MORAL DEGENERATION INSTEAD OF RE-GENERATION
By: Snenhlanhla Ndudula
“It’s discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit,” Noel Peirce Coward, English playwright and director, once mentioned.
Our moral values are principles that guide us and are considered imperative in life. They make up who we are. But with the modern society that we live in now, they are slowly crumbling and before we know it they will perish.
From the time we are young we are taught not only by our families but also at school about how to differentiate between right and wrong. We are groomed with different values, attitudes and ideas of what the suitable behavior is for someone who is part of a larger community.
We are always advised and reminded to stick to what we believe in and never forget where we come from. At the end of the day it’s those beliefs that shape our adulthood.
“Your morals are mainly influenced not only by your family but also your friends. Yes your parents teach you the ground work but it’s up to you on how you plan to implement it in your life,” Simo Mavuso said. Mavuso also alluded to how an individual’s peer group rather than the individual’s parents influence a person’s behavior in adulthood.
“Since we spend more time with our friends and less with family, their influence becomes much stronger,” said Mavuso.
The media also plays a crucial role as it has a manipulative influence over our morals, especially over our generation- the so called Generation Y (The generation of people born during the time period where there is constant access to technology).
Children normally copy what they see. For example, if a child saw their mother or father using vulgar language at home, that child may think this behavior is acceptable and could implement it at some point in his/her life.
Lack of good role models, looking up to celebrities who promote indecent behavior, adapting more to the western culture and bad parenting lead to morals crumbling. According to Judith M.Sgarz’s book The media’s Influence on Behavior and Violence, “Video, MTV and movie presentations focus on emotions. They use music to override their visual effect. If we listen closely and watch MTV often, we realize the music does not fit the action or visual presentation.”
Kuhle Sithole, a pupil at Durban High School said, “It’s changing over the years, with the modern and western culture people are moving closer towards that culture instead of following their own culture, which has its own moral values and customs. They contradict each other.”
Looking at the youth of today, there is no morality. Some feel in order to fit in within our society or a particular group they have to copy what is being advertised by the media and celebrity personalities. “Taking pride in yourself and fully expressing individualism helps you stand up for what you believe in,” Siyabonga Dube said.
Within the modern society that we live in we are slowly detaching from our moral values creating this picture of what we want to be instead of embracing who we really are. According to Houghton Mifflin in his book Thinking
Critically, Living Creatively, “Thinking critically about moral issues will provide you with the opportunity to refine and enrich your own moral compass. So that you will be better equipped to successfully deal with the moral dilemmas that we all encounter, in the course of living.”