Social media may be partly to blame for the rise in gun crime amongst young men.
That’s the assertion of psychologist and founder of the Centre for Solutions and Influence Dr Anthony Cummins as he provided some analysis on why Barbados is experiencing a high rate of shootings.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY on the psychological link of gun-based violence and digital media, Dr Cummins suggested that students, “block” men and working males are being fed a diet of violence online.
“We are in the information age – good or bad content, they are watching. TikTok is becoming so violent. You can almost think you are watching an x-rated movie. Facebook and Instagram as well. These are the things that are flying in your face as an adult. Who are the persons behind these things?”
Unconvinced about a link between social media and violence, Minister of Youth, Sport and Community Empowerment Charles Griffith wants to see more youth being engaged in wholesome activities.
“I am not sure that there is that strong link between social media and violence. What I can tell you is that my ministry started a block committee and what the block committee did was go to every single block across the island and register persons not only to get involved in sports, vocational training but also entrepreneurship,” he said .
Those “block boys” will not be forgotten, Griffith declared.
“We are cognisant that there are boys on the blocks outside of mainstream society and the ministry is doing what is necessary to reintegrate them back into mainstream society. Meanwhile, Cummins describes the current social media status as a digital media health problem.
“This is a societal health issue that must be dealt with. If we are not ready for change we are going to find ourselves in trouble. The only thing that gets into our psyche is what we let into it,” the psychologist warned.
He said the youth are simply following bad examples.
“They are copying a lot of what they are seeing because socialisation is critical. Given the easy access to media, like the movies and the different games, we have some very violent video games and parents are not even checking to see the content…,” he added.
Dr Cummins, who is an advocate for healthy families and strong men said there seem to be many men around lacking serious responsibility.
“There is a lack of responsibility among our men. There is a lack of education among our men; the two of those for sure coupled with a lack of resources. People need activities that will help them to stop being so lawless.”
Cummins believes part of the solution is the heavy scrolling on social media with sports and education. (MR)