A swirling tide of distractions
Parents today are faced with a more daunting task than salmon swimming upstream: keeping young minds from being swallowed up by ever-widening cyberspace distractions that take new forms almost daily in a world where seeking superficial thrills has become a growing obsession with too many.
As if that was not bad enough, there are also dangerous twist and turns in illegal drug activity, as dealers throughout parts of the United States try to make their products more potent by mixing, in some cases, legal drugs with heroin. This has produced a combination that already has claimed a number of lives in America this year.
Although it is not a story to attract blazing headlines, especially during a crucial year to elect a new president, for parents who have lost children or relatives as a result, they feel it should be a national crisis.
Most know that it is demand for illegal substances that has kept the deadly trade alive, despite big efforts from governments around the world. Dealers also know that the more customers they attract with no concern about consequences, the more lucrative their operations will be. In fact, in that dark area of crime, there are no rules, and competition usually escalates into deadly encounters between rival groups.
Bermuda has not been exempt from such activity, and police are well aware that gang clashes over turf activity can often culminate in tragedy. This is a concern for parents from one end of the island to the other because it is always the unknown factor that can shatter a family and indeed a community.
Unfortunately, the only time the public seem to discuss the subject is when something happens, often with tragic results.
Officials in America have great concern over an increase in deaths related to illegal drugs caused by a lethal mix of heroin and a drug usually used for cancer patients that is having a devastating impact in the underworld of drug use.
The drug known as fentanyl is so potent that even when used within the law, it must be administered with great care. Even a small dose can be lethal, and in some fatal overdoses it is difficult to detect without special test. Even more alarming is that fatal overdoses of heroin that are believed to be caused when fentanyl is added are fast becoming an issue in many states.
With many of our young people travelling overseas for further study, it is essential that they leave our shores fully armed with information that will make them less vulnerable to the negative elements.
There should be meaningful conversation between parents and their children on a regular basis, not only on illegal drugs, but to be careful about other distractions that on the surface appear as cyberspace fun when the objective could be to have people become almost obsessed with electronic wizardry, sometimes forgetting about their surroundings. The outcome in some cases has been far from pleasant.
It is accepted that the cyberspace world is here to stay, along with other forms of modern communication. However, it takes discipline and control to avoid becoming a prisoner to the never-ending stream of methods to entice more people to engage in games of fantasy, to a degree where reality at times is pushed aside.
Parents must keep conversation alive with children, along with frank open discussion on the negatives and positives of cyberspace to keep them focused on values needed to build strong character in facing life's real challenges.
One parent in the US who lost a son to an illegal drug overdose said she wished she had more conversations with him about the potential of mixing with the wrong people. It is always too late after something happens.
This is not a perfect world and there will always be problems. That is a part of life and we all accept that. What we should not accept is being too silent on matters that should be discussed in every home, especially when it comes to values that every generation will need if there is to be hope for future generations in a climate of proper balance between the modern world and values for life that will never change.