THE EFFECTS OF OUTSIDE INFLUENCES ON FAMILY VALUES
The family is the first social institution and the essential foundation on which
communities develop. It has a unique role in social, political and religious
development and it is the first source to satisfy the psychological needs of the
In an article entitled “Family I.Q Articles” by Susie Duffy, M.F.T., family values
are defined as a traditional set of social standards defined by the family and a
history of customs that provide the emotional and physical basis for raising a
family. Our social values are often times reinforced by our spiritual or religious
beliefs and traditions.
Traditional family values are usually passed on from one generation to the next,
giving children the structure and boundaries in which to function and thrive.
Although, 'family values' vary from household to household, from country to
country, and from generation to generation, there are some family values that are
consistent, for example, respect for others ,tolerance, peace, obedience and
In the Caribbean, issues of morality have traditionally been enshrined in family
values, despite religious or cultural differences. However, in recent years there has
been a vicious attack on those values that have been the foundation of many
generations. Outside influences such as the media, technology and peer pressure
seek to erode the very fabric of our society.
The media's role in our everyday lives is critical because often
The information they provide shapes public opinion and influences our choices — from
what music we, choose how we dress, how we conduct our lives on a daily basis.
Violence in the media has become commonplace. Violent music lyrics, videos and
video games dominate the media, resulting in a generally more aggressive
Caribbean youth population. There is no disputing that music affects us
emotionally and psychologically and can powerfully influence our behaviour.
The American Psychological Association (APA) published the findings of a new
study in the May issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, in
which it was confirmed that songs with violent lyrics increased aggression related
thoughts and emotions.
Consider these lyrics by a popular Caribbean artist, Black Rhino:
“Not nice, a Rhino! People dead when mi gun clap\\ Bowy head buss like car tire
and puncture\\ Bout yuh juss mek a duppy wid yuh gun.”
Jamaican Dancehall morphed through various increasingly violent variations to the
current Gaza and Gully nihilism. Partisans of Gaza and Gully routinely erupt into
pitched battles against each other, (Kaieteur News, 2010).
Artists like Kartel and Movado, sing songs that devalue women, and also glorify
sex and violence. This is the music of choice that our youths listen to from cell
phones, iPods, and other devices. The messages of promiscuous sex and random
violence are being drummed in song after song, hour after hour via radio, and clip
after clip, day after day via cable and satellite TV. Subliminally, these messages
are transmitted to innocent minds, and gradually erode family values if these are
not closely guarded.
While there are many advantages to the internet, family values can be severely
compromised. Pornography, gambling and other internet affairs are not harmless
activities, they are destructive. Children are exploited, and their lives are severely
damaged. The minds of youth become warped with false concepts. Continued
exposure leads to addiction that is almost impossible to break. It leads to fantasies
that are destructive of self-respect. It leads to illicit relationships, often to disease,
and to abusive criminal activity. Therefore, it is argued, increased access to
pornography will increase sex crimes and destroy families. (Art Carden, 2008).
In light of the foregoing, there should be greater vigilance by all concerned to
make the necessary efforts to preserve our family values that have sustained us in
Although new technology has potential benefits for youths, the recent explosion in
technology does not come without possible risks. Youth can use electronic media
to embarrass, harass or threaten their peers. Increasing numbers of teens and pre-
teens are becoming victims of this new form of violence. Although many different
terms-such as cyberbullying, Internet harassment, and Internet bullying-have been
used to describe this type of violence, electronic aggression is the term that most
accurately captures all types of violence that occur electronically. Like traditional
forms of youth violence, electronic aggression is associated with emotional distress
and conduct problems at school. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty
Commission preached at our church on Sunday, July 6, 2008 and argued that
Internet pornography is the greatest moral threat to the United States. The
relationship between pornography and rape provides a case in point. Cultural
critics argue that pornography chips away at the foundation of God's will for
human sexual relationships. As men view women as objects to be used rather than
equal creations in the image of God, the propensity to commit sex crimes
increases. Therefore, it is argued, increased access to pornography will increase
sex crimes and destroy families. (Art Carden, 2008)
The media also affect how Caribbean youths dress. The over-sized clothes, pants
falling off the butt are not a part of our Caribbean culture, but one that has been
imported from the USA.