Every time a heinous crime or an act of violence involving children is discovered, we seem to get rudely jolted from our slumber and ask every inconceivable question as a society from the experts and the not-so-experts. Raising children is often like a recipe now, an industry in itself—how to raise them, what to feed them, how to educate them. Yet, when an incident happens such as the one where a group of adolescents formed the ‘BoisLockerRoom’ chat room and its contents came to light, it tells us that somewhere we as a society are not going in the right direction. The children were from the best schools and so-called good homes of the elite, where they got the best care, attention and facilities. Why do such perfectly normal children whom you can’t imagine being law-breaking delinquents carry such violent fantasies? A few friends told me that when they discussed this with their children of the same age, they showed no surprise. The banality surprised them all. Their children said there were others in their class who used such language. “Violent fantasies, what are they?” one of them exclaimed. “We grow up with them. Some turn it into action.”
So, is it a problem of a generation getting lost to us or is it just an aberration—a group of young boys and parents whom we can call ‘the other’ and console ourselves that we are not like them, and that some factor like biology, upbringing and genetics can explain their behaviour? As a clinical psychologist who has worked alongside the police on many cases of heinous crimes by children and investigated them for counselling, I note with deep concern the radical and overwhelming change that has taken place in the way children think, feel and behave about issues of sexuality and sexual identity. What we see today is part of a continuum and less of a break or aberration—a sign and a warning that the world is changing faster than we know and creating a toxic masculinity in the minds of our children.