No matter whether we are living in a developed country or not, the challenges that the youth have to face, to some extent, are the same. Since most of the countries are in the race of boosting their economy, a long with the strong innovation of technologies, the life of young generations seem to be easier than their parents in the past. But instead of value and enhance the energies, ideals from such advantages, young generations in the world in general and Vietnam in specific are being overwhelmed and surrounded by plenty of society’s requirements as well as stereotypes.
First, we are living in a society where consumerism is being promoted, where your happiness and success are measured by how much wealth, how many fancy brands you have in your closet. Sadly saying, Vietnam is ranked as having the most active internet population in Southeast Asia, which means our youth are under the influences of “trends” on Social Network Services (SNS – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), so they can see and know what are the things that everyone/ their friends have, and of course, “Everyone has it so I must have ones too!” Vietnamese parents, with the willing to bring the best for their children, easily satiate those demands within their financial limits, which turns out not beneficial in long term.
Second, Vietnam’s young generations, especially from the age of elementary and middle school, are suffering “Early Maturity”, thanks to the early approach of TV, internet, SNS, and their parents do not even pay attention to it, maybe because they are also busy online! As one of the consequences of Materialism, kids nowadays are allowed to use phone sooner than kids born in the 90s’. Unwanted information, adult-related contents are the main elements that has led to early maturity, for instance, there are many relationship statuses are updated by 9 or 10 years old kids on Facebook these days; while at their ages, their parents did not even know how to use the computer!
Third, due to the concept of “differences” or “othering”, violence is becoming more and more common in schooling environment. In Vietnam, bully, stabbing, fighting are usually seen among girls, because of the gender stereotypes, these girls have the desire to prove themselves, to act cool so as to gain respect from their fellow students. The worst thing is not only the students who are considered different from their classmates, have to suffer both physically and mentally damages by bully for a long time, but also the bully themselves will carry the violence thinking with them even when they grow up.
Next, not only Vietnam government is fighting with corruption when dealing with economy, but so does the young generation. Recently, there are people who do not need or own a degree but still be able to get a position, because true ability, degrees are being underestimated and outweighed by Relationships and Money. Nevertheless, there are circumstances that freshly graduated bachelors do not want to start from simple, lower position career, which supposed to match with their ability and degree. If everyone so eager wants to be the boss, then who left to be the dedicated employees?
After that, pressures from our society are one of the most difficult challenges for not only Vietnamese youth, but also young generations worldwide. Peer pressures, family and society expectations, all that aspects have accidentally put Vietnamese youngsters into a race in order to find out who is the best, the most successful, the one that can makes their family proud, without even pay attention if their children are actually happy or satisfied with what they are doing, to please not themselves, but for people who cannot live their lives, yet still want to interfere? Almost all of the Vietnamese youngsters have been at least once compared to “Kids from other family” – an ideal image of successful, smart and cannot be more perfect child, although no one actually knows who he/she is. All of the pressures and struggles above are general contributing to increase the lost feeling of the youth nowadays. Loss, grief and stress, but cannot find sympathy anywhere, Vietnamese youngsters cannot be consistent with their spiritual journey, their spiritual growth. They care too much about what others think of them, what other people say or do. They keep talking about how to make this society a better place, but never come to a specific action.
Ideologically saying, The Sense of Self of the Youth in Vietnam is being extremely damaged. Their connection with their family are loosen, while family – who suppose to stay by their sides regardless of ups and downs, now totally put their children’s development into the hand of schools, which its system are also need to be revised. As my favourite line in “The Education of Little Tree” movie says: “If you don’t know your past, you won’t have a future”, young generations nowadays care more about showbiz scandals and idolise poor role models than getting to know, embrace and enhance the history, their origins! Not only a teenager feels discomfort to answer the question “Who are you?”, but they also lack of basic skills such as critical thinking or comprehension reading, which are so important for at least, their future career.
Seven challenges that Vietnamese youngsters have to overcome above can cause plenty of negative consequences, such as alcohol/ drugs abuse, school drop out if they do not receive appropriate attention and caring from family, or the Early Maturity can cause unexpected pregnancy, while Schooling system’s gap may change the meaning of learning in the youngsters’ perspective. Moreover, if their material needs are not satisfied, it is possible for juvenile delinquency to occur.
In general, all the young generation are and will sooner or later face one of these challenges, unless they can control themselves, as well as being oriented to the right path, because with all the innovation of the modern life, our lives are expected to become better, more highly educated, especially when there are people who will be the future stakeholders of these societies.