GENIUS Remaja as an Initiative Towards Empowering At-Risk Youth in a Digital Society

GENIUS Remaja as an Initiative Towards Empowering At-Risk Youth in a Digital Society

Nasrudin Subhi (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia), Azianura Hani Shaari (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia) and Daniella M. Mokhtar (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2956-0.ch011
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This article describes how today's youth are those categorized as Gen Z and Millennials who were born and brought up in the Information Age. As it brings benefits, the Internet could also cause harm if it is misused. Using a system theory approach, the GENIUS Remaja community program was introduced to address concerns particularly among at-risk youth living in the city. This is done by giving them healthier alternatives for their choice to channel their energy. This chapter will share the success stories and also the challenges in the implementation of the GENIUS Remaja community program in Malaysia.
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Youth is a crucial transition stage from childhood to adulthood. This is the time when the physical and psychological changes occur within the young people. This would be the time when the young people explore themselves, seeking for the right personality and identity. This is also the time where disorientation and discovery happen interchangeably in life. The United Nations (UN), defines youth as an individual between the ages of leaving their obligatory education system, and searching for their first job. Statistically, the UN also defines youth as those between the ages of 15 and 24. It has also been recognised by The United Nations that apart from this statistical definition, the definition of youth would vary all around the world. As for the GENIUS@remaja, we delineate our youth community in the specific context of those who come from the urban poor family, particularly living in the public housing flats (also known as PPR) managed by the Kuala Lumpur City Council, between 13 – 19 years of age.

Robbins et al. (2012) suggest family economic hardship as the main factor that contribute to the youth being classified as at-risk. They also found other related factors which included single parent families as well as parents with low education background. With such underprivileged background, these youth might be exposed to multiple risks (three or more) and are more likely to experience school failure and other negative outcomes. As a result, they might get involve in various unhealthy activities such as loafing, illegal racing and many more.

Samsudin (1994) found that in general, youth spend approximately 16.3 hours per week loafing. The hours of loafing increases with age as those aged between 22 – 25 years loaf around 18.8 hours per week as compared to those aged between 12 – 15 years, who loaf around 14.4 hours per week. The amount of hours youth spent loafing also increases according to how youth perceived of themselves. Those who see themselves as weak loaf more often than those who perceive themselves as excellent, with 26.3 and 17 hours respectively. The tendency of these youth to be involved in unhealthy activities may be high especially when they socialize with those involve in crimes and other bad activities. All juvenile delinquent behaviours are influenced not only by what is happening in their surroundings, but also through their observations. Things that they heard and learned, be it from their parents, friends and society at large. “Juvenile delinquency is not an inherent human condition, but rather is learned through association, imitation, observation, pressure, needs, wants, influence and desires” (Wickliffe 2000, p.45).

In Malaysia, the number of children involved in crime have exceeded to 4,000 cases since 2010 to 2014 with the year 2012 recorded the highest statistic with 6,020 cases. According to the Department of Welfare (2014), three most related crime involving children in Malaysia would be, the property-related crimes (2,142 cases), drug (1,132 cases) and people-related crimes (779 cases). Therefore, it is time about for the government to take a more systematic approach in dealing with the youth at-risks in Malaysia and at the moment, the role played by the GENIUS@remaja has definitely fit the purpose.

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