The term social problems is a generic term applied to a range of conditions and behaviors which are assumed to be manifestations of social disorganization and this conditions warrant changing through some means of social engineering. Social problems are matters that directly or indirectly affect almost all members of the society. They are considered to be either problems or controversies that are related to moral values of a people. Social problems can be classified into 4 main groups which include; politics, pollution, climate change and poverty.
Refers to a process by which groups of individuals use power and influence to work together in collective decision making. The term is mostly applied to the behavior common within governments however politics has been observed in many other group interactions such as academic, corporate and religious institutions. Politics can be termed a social problem because most of the decisions made by governments and other institutions may not necessarily favor the poor in society. Powerful leaders are known to use politics to satisfy their selfish interests through misappropriation of public funds which in turn slows down development processes as seen in many third world countries.
Pollution refers to adding contaminants into the environment. These contaminants are known to cause disorder, instability, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem. Pollution can be as a result of chemical substances or energy, such as heat, light or noise. Pollutants, which are the elements of pollution, can be naturally occurring or as a result of foreign substances or energies. Pollution is a major social problem everywhere because of the presence of human economic activities such as industrial activity and day to day activities. Industrial activity is the main source of pollution contributing to over 70% of world’s water and land pollution. There is however a certain degree of pollution that is accepted as normal industrial practice.
3. Climate change
Climate change refers to the change in statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to even millions of years. It can be change in the average weather or change in the distribution of events for instance greater or less extreme weather (rain). Climate change can be a social problem in that it is known to be caused by human activities such as pollution which in turn affects the weather patterns of different regions. Global warming is a good example of climate change that is caused by human activities over the years. Changing climate patterns affect economic activities such as farming which in turn may cause poverty to communities dependent on farming as an economic activity
Poverty refers to the lack of basic human needs, such as nutrition, clean water, clothing and shelter, health care and education because of the lack of the finances to afford them. There are two types of poverty namely absolute poverty and relative poverty. Relative poverty is the condition of having relatively fewer resources or less income than others within in a similar society or compared to the worldwide averages. Absolute poverty on the other hand refers to having no resources at all. Poverty is a social problem because it reduces the economic growth due to low levels of production. Today, steady and continuous economic development has been constrained by the lack of economic freedom for many individuals due to linked problems such as corruption, political instability and unemployment.
The above four social problems affect every society/country in the world. For members of a society to enjoy quality life, the above problems have to be dealt with seriously. Global warming threatens to reverse major human progress achieved over the years, causing poverty reduction efforts unachievable. Industrialized countries have to lead the switch from use of fossil fuel based energy to clean energy. Political solutions are also required for meaningful and long term policies that will fight for all.
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A social problem is an unwanted situation that occurs in a society affecting a significant number of people and the community. The cause of social problems is by factors that are beyond society’s control thereby creating confusion of what is right and wrong, and people believe they should be corrected. Social problems comprise of; sexually transmitted diseases, antisocial behavior, poverty, crime, murder, drug abuse, sexual assault, alcoholism, bullying, rape, climate change, child labor among others.
Social problems arise due to various factors. Sociologists argue that the nature of society through its structure and culture facilitate an environment that promotes thriving of these problems. Firstly, is social change. The alteration of society’s values, a way of life, customs, traditions, and laws due to globalization and need to adopt new ways of life give rise to social problems. Social change elicits this by disturbing the organization of a society thereby creating confusion, rebellion, and resistance. These result in social problems such as hate crimes, murder, discrimination, child abuse, bullying, and drug abuse. For example, the move by the United States to recognize and legalize gay marriages brought a new era to people’s rights. However, not all celebrated the move. Some extremists and hate groups have carried out hate crimes, bullying, and murder against the LGBT community to display their displeasure.
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Secondly, the contradiction of social systems whereby a society relies on, favors certain social groups, for instance, the employed and the educated and ignores the unemployed and the uneducated can cause social problems. The uneducated and the unemployed group maybe this way due to the society’s failure to offer them various opportunities due to poverty, neglect or family problems. Consequently, for them to feel accepted and fit in, they engage in socially unacceptable activities such as crime, social unrest, gang related activities and pornography to meet their responsibilities.
Bad cultures also accentuate the occurrence of social problems. Cultural events that gratify sex among the youth causes social problems such as abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, pornography and drug and substance abuse. Additionally, cultures that create no barriers among children and the youth through increasingly busy parents who spend less time guiding and nurturing their offspring create problems. First, moral decay develops as these kids, and young people are left to the mercies of devices such as television, and the internet. Thus, they pick up unwanted social problems such as drug and substance abuse, watching of pornography, experimenting with sex.
Social issues affect the society by causing many repercussions. First, it creates disharmony among the people elicited by suspicion and hostility in cases where issues such as criminal activities, hate crimes, harassment, and rape occur. Secondly, they cause suffering and misery among people. A society full of fear of each other, where some cause harm or hate results in the suffering of the inhabitants. Thirdly, the social problems disadvantage a society, as they do not solve any problems but create others that become foundations of worse issues. Fourthly, they make it impossible to address them. Social problems are not universal to every society and tend to change rapidly. Hence, concentrating on solving one is difficult as others arise and cause more harm than the previous one.
Social problems can be solved by first, identifying the root causes of these problems. For example, watching of pornography, abortions and drug abuse among the youths may be due to lack of guidance and counseling. Therefore, programs aimed at creating awareness and educating the youths on these social problems can be created. Secondly, the creation of social support systems such as healthcare, rehabilitation, and employment services to solve alcoholism, drug abuse, and criminal activities.