My thought starts from my English lecturer's (Ms. Flo) question in class about Indonesian youth's character and attitude. She was confused why today's youths have bad attitude and weak character. And Mr. Budi Rahardjo's article here works as catalyst. So, I wrote this. In English, dislike usual, because she is my English lecturer, absolutely.
The complete question is: "Why today's youths have worse attitude and weaker character than their previous generation?". I just trying to analyze, and answer with my opinion. Okay, someone's attitude and character mostly built by the environment. And it is clear, today's environment is changed at all. People grew, new technologies invented everyday, people are changed (absolutely, people's lifestyle is), and people changed their environment. Modernization kick traditions out. Industrialization take people's spare time. Here I tried to discover some reasons:
Televisions's Commercial Ads
From about two decades later till now, TVs spread around the world. In last 10 years in Indonesia, TV stations grew fast. From just a few station to more than 10 national TV stations. From half-day broadcast, to a 24 hour TV broadcast. Today, who are never watch the TV? mostly people do. Who powered these stations? Commercial Advertisements! Mostly TV stations are free service, just few of them are the paid one. Everyday, every hours, (even every minutes) the watchers watch ads in their TV. These ads changes the people. These turn watchers to consumerism. And, hedonism is a new lifestyle. Worst, people will do anything for this.
Bad TV Programs
We can see that mostly TV programs is bad, not educative, even harm the morale. It is enough, I don't watch TV except for news, talk-show, and some box-office movies now. The rest? "just drag them to trash". Today's TV programs are killing our youth's character. Electronic cinema (you know, the popular name is "sinetron") teach hedonism, gamblings, betrays, fightings, violences, even killings and free sex. Unfortunately, these programs are available from morning till night everyday, absolutely in prime time. It is an effective brainwashing tools for kids and youth.
Today is the era of electronic and video games. It makes kids and youth just stay at home to play games on their own room. This is an anti-social propaganda. Kids and youth did not go out to hang out with their friends, or with other people. They are not learn how people did outside. Just they, and the game consoles. Fortunately, internet became more popular recent years. Is it make game consoles more social?
I have a friend that was a game-maniac. Since he mostly played game in his life, he had bad academic performance because he didn't have spare time to study or hang with friends out, just played the game! Another bad effects are happen if they didn't take care of game ratings. I was shocked when I found Grand Theft Auto III DVD near my-four-years-old-nephew's PlayStation 2 game console. Do you know that game is mature-rated (rated by ESRB, see next paragraph)? Unfortunately, just few people or parents that care about this rating. It makes sense if kids played adult-rated or mature-rated games will harm their character-building process. It is bad if kids played game with violence content and strong language.
ESRB's Mature Rating:
"Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language".
Okay, this just my litle contemplation. Capacity of standard SMS is a limitation. 160 characters usually are not enough for a full "real message". So, people send the SMS with "to the point" message, without greetings. By the time, people forget the greetings, even in offline communication.
My Own Conclusion:
People changed. Technologies, modernizations, and industrializations did. Even they brings better life, they also harm our humanity. As we know, technologies are like two-sided knife: the good side can be used to cut something; the evil side can be used to kill somebody or ourselves. Lifestyle is changed, so attitude and character was changed too.
PS: Dear Ms. Flo, even my opinion is not acceptable by some people (may be you are?), I hope that I had written this properly in English.
Catatan: Tumben-tumbennya nulis serius gini, pake bahasa Inggris lagi... hehehe...