"Media outlets across Australia have carried headlines about a “youth crime
crisis” in recent months. While drawn from actual events, often involving
serious criminality and antisocial behaviour, these often sensational reports
have the same narrative subtext. The story is one of “bad kids” doing bad
things in otherwise “good communities”.
Our understanding, as a society, of who we are is informed in part by the
media. What the youth crime crisis is and who we understand young offenders to
be corresponds with media framings of these individuals and their actions.
More often than not, the reports present a “good-bad” binary: where “bad” young
people who do bad things should be locked up to protect “good” people. It’s a
basic, albeit understandable, reaction that makes sense in terms of a logic of
punishment and retribution.
For the Youth Community Futures research project, we have been working with
groups of young people to explore how they engage with the community and how
they feel about it. Our young people have said they are increasingly fearful
and are conscious of being perceived negatively. They do not feel accepted by
others or their communities.
In short, these young people feel they are viewed as “bad” because they are
young. And when young people feel marginalised, the outcomes include
withdrawing and becoming socially isolated. It also increases the potential for
problematic anti-social behaviour – including crime."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics