Social problems are the issues that affect people’s relationships in a society in a negative way. It is a condition viewed as undesirable in the community or by a part of community; for instance, older people find loud music a problem, whereas the younger generation enjoys it. It affects any kind of society, whether big or small; even two people living together cannot avoid certain problems. Human beings are social beings, meaning they are expected to interact with each other and in this process various problems may arise. Daily, when we read the newspapers or watch news we get to see the rampant problems which are rooted in the society (Salvian, 2006).
One characteristic of a social problem is that it changes the situation. The public order which existed is interrupted; it may be difficult to solve the problem, but people should not feel as if they cannot do it. A social problem becomes one when people have recognized it existing before it affects anyone. However, if it caused no disharmony in the society, then it cannot be actually classified as a problem.
There are various attempts by sociologists to categorize these problems. Harolds A. Phelps classifies them as biological, e.g. having physical and bio-psychological effects such as feeble mindedness (Mooney, 2007). Another classification is based on heritage; for instance, biological, physical and social heritage. However, they cannot be fully separated, because most problems are interrelated.
The list of social problems is endless. It includes things such as sexual abuse, terrorism, robbery, civil wars, human trafficking, child labor, discrimination, cultism, laziness, election rigging, exam malpractices, racism, corruption, student unrest, abuse of power, famine, disrespect for elders, lust, embezzlement of public funds and so on.
The list of social problems has all kinds of deviations from the smallest to the biggest levels. Indeed, problems such as laziness and disrespect for elders cannot be compared with civil war or coups, because of the magnitude of people affected. One wonders what motivates somebody to commit certain crimes such as murder, rape or even robbery with violence. Answering this question is hard, because it requires a strong understanding of social behavior. This is why there are endless attempts to explain such behaviors by sociologists. Such problems are related to deviance which is an act of doing something against the accepted standards. Versions that explain this deviance include the association, labeling and control theories.
Individuals who cause the social problems, especially with the intention of hurting others, may have various reasons behind their actions. They can be just out of malice, jealousy, bad socialization or psychological problems. Drug abuse, which is a huge problem itself, is also an immense cause of such actions such as disrespect, violence and robbery. Peer pressure is a huge cause of social problems among young people. Weakness of the institutions responsible for maintaining the communal order has led to the increase of the number of behavior deviations. Moreover, the level of the society’s tolerance to these issues has also changed.
The effects of the social problems are diverse depending on their type. However, generally they bring either physical or emotional pain to the victims. Intentional actions such as robbery, violence, rape and murder bring a lot of stress, depression and feeling of hate to the victims. Other activities such as corruption and embezzlement of funds damage the relationships among people in the society. Vices such as corruption and mismanagement of funds are like cancer to the social order; it paralyses development and leaves the society not progressing. Social problems that are health related lead to frustrations and financial losses of the victims. They can also cause isolation, as the society avoids people who bring difficulties; others end up being behind bars. Some public issues may lead to hostility, suspicion, and the desire for revenge which can plunge the society into chaos.
The community needs to adopt all ways of control to curb social problems. The social monitoring can be formal or informal. Everyone in the general public has the duty of maintaining the existing regime in order to avoid problems. One of the ways of social control is education. Educated people are aware of human rights and values. Moreover, they are open-minded and prepared to do the important things. Not only school education has to be adopted. We should not underestimate the meaning of informal education at home, where parents can teach their children all the moral lessons, and enforce discipline. It is quite helpful method, because it is hard to stray away from what you’ve learnt while growing up.
There is a long list of social problems affecting people. The ones that cause physical pain to people or affect children should be paid a special attention to. One can get surprised because of the quantity of evils and suffering in the society. Some of us may be lucky not to experience the extreme levels of these problems. Some of them like the civil wars and political instability we cannot control. It is so painful to imagine the young children suffering out there in the cold having nothing. The important note is that most of these issues can be avoided. The society needs to gather in dealing with its problems. We should start from avoiding the small disagreements, because they could become a basis for the big social problems in future.
Social problems that affect health and psychology of an individual should be addressed before they reach a level where nothing can be done. It is extremely important, because they can adversely affect the society and lead to the detrimental effects. In addition, established institutions of governmental and non-governmental organizations should come up and help in solving the above mentioned issues. The society should control misbehaviors such as stress, depression, alcohol abuse, nerve problems before they become a total problem. People need to learn about stress management and try to live happy lives, and taking care in order to avoid tension.
During the research about the social problems certain things were found to be changing people’s attitudes towards social problems. Ignorance worsens the case, but once you get the full information backed up by people’s real problems, there is a total shift in attitude. A sympathetic and understanding approach is adopted. Above all, one should learn that some things we do are a source of problems, but we never take them seriously. The information on social problems will definitely affect my behavior and beliefs positively. Various cases of misbehavior show the extreme consequences one goes through just for doing something stupid. Moreover, not only you, but also somebody else will suffer. In the end, the best solution is to check our behaviors and do the right thing.