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  • Writer's pictureCodey

Social Media' Eshays' will be sent to Work-ays.

Last week an article was published about teens who are committing crimes and sharing about them online to remote outback stations in an effort to rehabilitate them.

Codey 17yrs from Auckland NZ, a member of our Youth Advisory wrote his thoughts on the article.

'Eshays.' Delinquent teenagers who take pride in causing distress and difficulty in their schools and communities. The kids who hang out around the train station rocking Nike TNs and bum bags may need to be wary of their future. As the Daily Mail has said, "Teenage criminals, also known as 'eshays,' will soon face a punishment that is hoped will scare them straight - an extended period with no mobile data." To reduce youth crime, Wyroodah Station in the outback of Western Australia will become a secondary location for carrying out punishment against these troubled teens. Working will keep them away from crime, teach them valuable life-long skills, and keep their negative social media impact to a minimum. Time away from home will do a lot of good; for everyone.

These teens are among the next generation of our society. This is an indisputable fact and should be taken more seriously than people care to do so. Time away from their environment inevitably makes them less accustomed to their fractured way of life. If this time out is spent doing productive and meaningful things, committing a crime will be put on the back burner in their brain, which means they will be much less of a problem in their communities. I support this form of retribution as it is unique and frightening to a group of people addicted to their phones – teenagers. For a generation who spends an average of 7 hours a day on their phones, taking that away is one way to get things done and simultaneously detox from the stress of social media. I also believe in the humanising of convicts and how it reduces recidivism by rehabilitating inmates instead of depriving them of social interactions and maintaining the habits and mentality that landed them in correction facilities in the first place. This is seen in Scandinavian countries with a much lower recidivism rate with an average of 20-30%, as opposed to the US or UK with much higher rates (66% within three years).

Part of this rehabilitation will develop valuable skills used in everyday life, such as being punctual and working hard. Skills that benefit the youth could be used to find a job after their punishment has been carried out. Part of their disciplinary sentence will be to "learn to feed and manage animals on the property with about 19,000 cattle." Although unorthodox, it teaches these 'eshays' skills such as management and teamwork as managing a property of this size alone is extremely hard if not impossible, further bettering their ability to interact in ways beneficial for many people. These rehabilitating measures will help their reintroduction into normal society, similar to what is seen in Scandinavian prisons. This is beneficial for those convicted, but this form of constructive rehabilitation takes less of a toll on the guards and overseers. Less stress will mean more quality time with their families and longer lives – as reported, correctional officers in the US have a life expectancy 12 years shorter than the general population.

It cannot be denied that most of this generation's teenagers lead at least two lives – one in real life and one on their phones. Social media is not always a kind place, but it is an escape for many. An escape from their reality and their life at home/school/work etc. It is also apparent that social media is influential. People can express themselves, and others who think and feel the same will express themselves similarly. These eshays who post themselves "driving in stolen cars and robbing properties" influence the younger generation and make them believe this is 'admirable' or 'cool' behaviour, potentially poisoning the mind of the young and their future aspirations. Founder of St Giles Trust SOS Project, Junior Smart, regards social media as "normalising violence." The prevalence of crime and violence on social media has become so apparent that the youth may believe it is everyday, ordinary. Examples of this can be seen by the impact Australian drill groups such as "ONE FOUR" and the "HP Boyz," whose songs glorify crime and violence, could be seen as 'responsible' for sparking a lot of the 'eshay' culture around Australia and even New Zealand. Again, a testament to the influential power social media has on the youth especially. The less of this criminal activity present on the internet for kids to be influenced by may result in less crime and make social media a more positive space for other users, both young and old.

Do I believe that sending 'eshays' to the middle of nowhere in the outback will be beneficial and impactful? Yes. I think it will deter future offenders and outright stop youth crime in Australia? Certainly not. However, I believe this kind of punishment will make those who commit these crimes and post their fatuous activities for the whole world to see, think twice about it. I think this type of punishment will go a long way for offenders and their communities and make their presence on social media less toxic and destructive. Hopefully, this form of discipline will turn these hooligan teens into indispensable members of society and change their lives for the better.

I am 17 years old and from Auckland, New Zealand. I am in my final year of high school (Year 13 here in NZ, Year 12 over in Aus), and plan to pursue tertiary education in law when I graduate. I have joined the Youth Committee in the hopes of spreading a positive message and hopefully, I can make a personal impact on those who read what I write, and hear what I say. At the same time, I wish to be a role model both online as well as in real life. I hope that along this journey we can all learn from each other and strive to become better versions of ourselves


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