Evidence of the Decline of the Family Unit

How the decline of the family unit is in evidence in our everyday life. How internet, television and newspapers shows how a decline in the family unit has evolved.

There have always been surveys and studies conducted on social developement by the world's leading authorities on the subject. However, we dont need to read high brow, academic accounts or pore over laborious statistics to find out how we are evolving socially. One of the easiest ways to check out human social developement is to check out the media.

Anyone over the age of 35 can see how people have changed from the previous generation, simply by watching T.V and surfing the internet.

The ongoing popularity with social networking sites, reality T.V and internet and advertising scams that continue to reel in the gullible, are a sure sign that all is not well in our world.


Lets start with the internet for instance, the fastest growing media base on the planet.

We've all seen the scams from so called entrepreneurs claiming you can make a zillion dollars a week for half an hours work, or heart rendering e-mails from ex army generals forced to flee their homelands, who will give you a big chunk of their money if you give them your bank account details.

How did these scams evolve ?


Ninety per cent of us know them for what they are, out and out scams, but for the other 10 %, dont and they fall for it hook line and sinker, so trawling the net in the quest for hapless victims, is worth being ignored by the majority, becouse every now and again some one will come up trumps.

But why do this hapless 10 % exist, why do they fall for these rediculous scams, when the rest of us all know them for what they are?

Social professionals have come up with some very interesting theories for this, one of which is the decline of the family unit.

More people live on their own today than ever before, more people are bringing up children alone than ever before, and more people than ever are now living away from their extended families.

The instance of people emigrating is the highest ever, as is the instance of people working in other cities, areas and even other countries.

These trends are rendering the young without role models and mentors and the elderly without support.

This is evident by the social network phenonema that is sweeping the internet.

The human animal is a social one, who prefers to live and work in a community, with extended family and friends on tap.

But as most of us today are living and even working alone, people are looking towards the internet for friendship.

The internet is awash with networking sites and user forums which can be accessed 24/7.

For these people their networking site or regular user forum is their ' family '.

The on-line obsession in the quest for as many friends as one can get on the social network sites,has to be the biggest instance of a need for wanting to ' belong ' in evidence today.

A lack of mentors and role models is evident by the material that is featured on certain types of sites.

One can find an enormous amount of people reading about, or asking advice on, relationship problems, dating, childcare, diet,and most frightening of all, medical advice.

Problems that only twenty years or so ago would have been most certainly discussed amongst the family unit.



The T.V phenonema of the decade is reality T.V.

Shows along the lines of Big Brother, Masterchef, the ' Idol ' series, Supernanny, and a maelstrom of makeover shows.

These programmes have in turn lead to ' celebrity ' versions, that in turn have brought about an extrordinary interest in celebrities and their lives. An absolute obsession has sprung up regarding celebrity culture.

What has lead to these obviously third rate shows gaining so much popularity and Z list celebrities gaining such a following?

Again social professionals have attributed these audience bases and obsessions with celebrities lives, to a decline of the family unit.

These programmes are aimed at people who want to be part of a group, that instills a feeling of ' belonging '.

These types of shows go on to be cause for conversation via interactive participation, by text message updates and online hype.

This gives the viewer a feeling of belonging, as they would have within a family unit .

The same thing can be said about soap operas.

Peoples lives can be followed on a weekly basis, with these shows becoming a great talking point. Some people even getting so involved with these shows, there are hints of them even believing that these actors really exist in the real world, with the viewer becoming emotionally stirred by certain elements of a series.

People get involved with their screen idols lives as people, years ago, would have become involved with their own extended family's lives.

It's all about people wanting / needing to be a part of a community, and these T.V shows fill that need.

Even T.V adverising is now aimed at showing people how to do things, rather than being aimed first and foremost at selling a product.

The selling of a product is obviously the main aim of the advertisment, but it is done in such a way as to appear that the advertiser is some type of life Guru, helping you out and showing you how something should be done, and that their product is only secondary to their initial aim of wanting to help you.

This type of advertising has in turn lead to shows by the ' Style Guru '.

T.V programmes, where certain individuals have become an overnight success becouse they show you how to apply make up or teach you what to wear, or show you how to decorate your house or what to plant in your garden.

Again, years ago advice about cooking, housework, beauty products, etc, would be discussed amongst family members.with the family hierarchy showing the younger family members ' the ways of the world '.



There has always been street violence and gangs, but no where near as much as today. The press run endless reports about the gang and street culture that is taking over our cities.

There are a myriad of reasons for street gangs, of which I am neither qualifed enough to discuss or have the room in this article to express, but one such reason for such an upsurge in street gangs, is again, the decline of the family unit.

Youngsters that need help, advice, and a need to belong, are now becoming gang members in order to fill a void in their lives that should be filled by their extended family.

This then leads to endless reports of anti social behaviour, muggings, carjacks and the neighbours from hell element.

This in turn gives people an irrational fear of their surroundings, leading them to spend even more time in front of their T.V or computer screen.

Respect for the elders of the community and family hierarchy is now the exception rather than the rule in modern society , due to the fact that there is not enough interaction between the generations as there once was.

Although alcohol and recreational drugs have been around for centuries, the media's continual stories of drug fueled instances and the binge drinking culture of today has also been put down to the fact that the young are finding it hard to cope due to a lack of support and guidance from the extended family.

Even reports of the increasing problem of obesity, in part can be put down to lack of social education, with people turning to fast food and ready meals, not becouse they are lazy, but simply becouse they have never been shown how to cook by family elders.



All these elements have lead to people living a much more insular life, rendering them devoid of social interactive skills that would normally teach them to be more aware of their surroundings and gauging how to ' read ' people. These type of communicative skills cannot be gained by sitting indoors, which is why certain individuals become much more gullible to on-line scams and other fraudsters out to make a killing.

And it is'nt just the young and innocent that are at risk, all age groups seem to be putting more trust and faith into complete strangers on-line.

Police reports of the last decade have all logged an upsurge in Internet crime, now making it the largest single crime element for most police forces of the modern world today.

                                                                                     Images courtesy of wikimedia commons.


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