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The largest source of unease and violence today are teenagers; they all group together and form gangs, steal cars, deal and use drugs, have promiscuous sex and become early parents, stalk, haunt, and probably aim to murder adults and non-compliant youth. They are an absolute menace and have to be controlled – with an iron hand. They should be managed in their youth; suppressed in social relations to likewise suppress such unruly behavior. And, as much as possible, be explicitly made aware of proper moral behavior by locking them up in detention areas and punishing them as adults in order to definitely set them straight.
Are the youths today really greatly lacking morals and badly-behaved that curfews are the only measures viewed as highly acceptable and effective? As an individual, I see that this could be an operative way of curtailing the increasing rates of teenage-related crime anywhere in the world. However, just as much as I would like to enjoy a safer environment for everyone at night, I feel that the youths are subjectively discriminated based on their age.
Such prejudice can lead to social isolation and community connectedness felt by the youth making authority figures the main target of resentment (White). One alternative to this all-encompassing curfew is the implementation of an anti-loitering policy that targets not on all of the youth but only the trouble-makers. Curfews directly go against basic human rights and personal freedoms. Policing the streets for youth activities and enacting zero-tolerance rules greatly exemplifies restrictions of human rights and can be labeled as rightly racist against individuals in the age of minority.
Take, for example, the Valentine’s Day curfew implemented in Bangkok, Thailand, for teenagers of 18 years old and below (The Nation). The article claimed that the government did this to prevent inappropriate action, vice, and sex among teenagers. Hence, the national police dispatched patrols around theaters, parks, bars, apartments, hotels, and other night venues. Teenagers that would be caught, would be brought to police stations for temporary holding until their parents pick them up (The Nation). This approach has presented an active discrimination against a section of society solely based on traits that the individual could not control.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 37, no juvenile should be deprived of their freedom indiscriminately, and incarceration should only be used as the final recourse, be in agreement with regulations, be for the shortest quantity of time feasible, and the juvenile has the right to speedy legal guidance and has the right to contest the legitimacy of any confinement in front of a court or other unprejudiced authority (United Nations). Curfews generally repudiate the freedom of adolescents simply for being minorities and does not adapt nor fulfill the edicts of this agreement. When the well-being of the youth is being evaluated, decisions regarding implementation of curfews should be based on informed, rational and current societal issues rather than on political gain and sensationalism by the media.
Government authorities often view themselves as too busy to attend to issues regarding the youth; as such, curfews are utilized as an all-encompassing and favorite tool in order to provide fast, reactionary and expressive approaches in addressing societal fear about youth-related crime. On the other hand, this outright exclusionary and inherently racist act goes against the rights of children and youth as dictated by the United Nations Convention; moreover, this negatively impacts the most defenseless and relegated societal group. There are more proactive measures for the government and peace officials in addressing juvenile delinquency without having to estrange, isolate, and criminalize behavior that is not generally illegal or morally corrupt. Adults have to evaluate the historical uses and effects of curfews and analyze whether this method is appropriate in our society today.