Youth violence is prevalent in almost every country, and in an effort to lessen it, it is important for us to understand the primary reasons behind it. If we observe keenly, violence is extremely prevalent among youth from different walks of life. There seems to be a driving force (or forces), that urges these young people to engage in such violence. It is very common nowadays to hear news about teenagers or high school students taking part in brutal killings, homi-cide, murder or even suicide.
However, I think youth violence is not restricted to such forms. Bullying, for ex-ample, happens everyday in almost every school in this country. The very fact that violence is becoming more widespread in our time is enough reason for us to identify and understand the main reasons behind such vi-olence. The environment where a person grows up plays a major factor in his/her participation with vi-olence. I believe that a young man or woman can be directly influenced to do violent acts if he/she has wit-nessed or experienced it on a personal level.
If a child grows up in an environment where violence seems to be a normal part of daily life, then it is almost certain that the child will adapt the same tendency to engage in violent acts. For example, if a boy often sees his father hurting his mother, this could lead to two things. Either the child will adapt the same attitude of cruelty towards women, or he will develop a strong anger against men who hurt women. Eventually, as the child grows up and becomes a teenager, he might find ways to bring out his or her pent up emotions by engaging in similar violent acts.
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The content behind modern media and entertainment can also be a major cause of youth violence today. Parents may be able to discipline and guide their kids at home, but when these same kids open the television, they can watch the news where people are being murdered, folks are hurting each other and crimes are being committed everyday. In many television shows and movies, brutal acts of murder and torture are shown as if they are a normal part of daily life. Other films teach young people the value of revenge, and portray violence as the righteous way to vindicate the characters.
The fearful thing is that these acts of violence can be watched by children and teenagers unrestricted. They do not need to personally experience crime and brutality because these things are already fed daily into their heads: through the television, news, movies and the internet. There are thousands of websites where young people can freely watch videos with graphic content and gore. In this way, violence becomes a part of a young person’s daily thinking. Suddenly, it stops being a scary thing to him or her. Instead, violence becomes more and more appealing and interesting to the young person.
He then finds ways to do these same things in real life. Just a few years ago, news broke out about a young, introverted student who one day went to school with a firearm and entered the classroom shooting all her classmates. Similar events have occurred in previous years in different parts of America. Homicides happen in schools where young people are supposed to be safe. What is the reason why seemingly harmless and meek young people have engaged in brutal killings? I believe one of the reasons is social alienation.
The current society we live in is full of racism, minority branding and social biases. Some young people find themselves in school environments where they are treated as outcasts possibly because of their nationality, religious beliefs and other unique characteristics. Every young person is longing for genuine belongingness and attachment, an environment where he or she is accepted. Unfortunately, some teenagers’ needs for social belongingness are not being met. Instead, they are exposed to a cruel world where people are cold, indifferent and judgmental.
In my opinion, this leads to feelings of anger or resentment against the world in general. This anger or resentment may be kept deeply hidden in the thoughts of a young person. It could grow stronger as years go by, until at last, it reaches a certain level where the young person gives in to his strong feelings and resorts to acts of violence towards others. In conclusion, a young person’s environment, exposure to violence through the media, and feelings of social alienation, all contribute to youth violence. There are many other reasons and causes, and we could not possibly point out all of them.
However, I believe the important thing is that we are aware of what’s happen-ing around us. It is my conviction that learning, studying and fully understanding the main causes of youth violence will help us become better citizens and effective parents in the future. There are some solutions that can help to avoid or to solve teenage violence: Parents and others who care for young people can help them learn to deal with emotions without using violence. Because violence results from conflicts between people, it can be prevented by learning nonviolent ways to control anger and solve problems.
Teaching your teen, through words and actions, that violence is never an acceptable form of behavior is very important. The tips provided here can help you. Quick Facts •Almost 16 million teens have witnessed some form of violent assault. •About one in eight people murdered in the United States each year are younger than 18 years of age. •Research shows a link between violent television programs and aggressive behavior in teens who watch those programs. •Most injuries and violent deaths occur between people who know each other. If there is violence in your family, it increases the risk of your teen becoming involved in future violence. •A gun in the home is more likely to be used to kill a family member or friend than to kill an in-truder.
Tips for Parents 1. Start talking about ways to reduce or eliminate violence. •Team up with other parents and get involved in your community; join your neighbors in activities to reduce violence. •Talk to your teen about ways to solve arguments and fights without weapons or violence. •Advise your teen to talk to you or a trusted adult to avoid potentially violent situations. If you suspect a problem with your teen, start talking about it. 2. Monitor the media. •Limit the amount of television your teen watches to 1 to 2 hours a day (includ-ing music videos and video games). •Do not allow your teen to watch violent movies or TV programs. •If something violent comes on the TV, talk about what is wrong with the pro-gram and how the situation could have been handled in a nonviolent way. 3. Be a role model by handling problems in nonviolent ways. •Don't hit your teen. Model non-physical solutions to problem solving. •Count to 10. Cool off.
If you can't control your anger, tell your teen you need some time to get your thoughts and feelings under control. •Problem solve with your teen. Think together about options and consequences for behaviors. •Set limits, make sure your teen knows the rules and consequences, and follow through. •Don't carry a gun. This sends a message to your teen that using guns solves problems. 4. Reduce the threat of gun-related violence to your teen. •Make certain your teen does not have access to guns. If you have a gun, re-move it from your home or store it unloaded and locked up. Lock and store bullets separately. Tell your teen to stay away from potentially dangerous situations and from guns in homes of friends or places where he or she may visit or play.
•Keep in mind that teens don't always follow the rules. Also, teens are attracted to guns and see guns as symbols of power. Since you can't always count on teens to stay away from guns, you have to keep guns away from them. 5. Help your teen deal with anger. •Anger is a normal feeling. Anger does not have to be bad if it is expressed ap-propriately. Teach your teen that it is okay to be angry, but it's not okay to throw a punch. People must control their anger before they can control a situation. •Sometimes counseling is necessary to help teens deal with their anger appro-priately. Steps your teen can take to avoid violence or injury 1. Recognize situations or events that are likely to escalate into violence. 2. Stop whatever you are doing and count to 10 backward. This will help you think about your feelings before they get out of control. 3. If you can't control your anger, get away. Take a time out. 4. Think about the options and consequences of your actions.
For example, hitting someone could result in suspension from school or injury. 5. If necessary, get help from a third party to solve differences. 6. Cool off. Make sure you are calm and then talk to the person. 7. Listen carefully to the other person's opinion. 8. Be assertive, not aggressive. Stand up for your ideals. Begin every sentence with "I" For example: "I feel this way... " or "I don't like it when... " 9. Be willing to admit and be responsible for something you may have done wrong. 10. Respond with your HEAD, not your fists, threats, or weapons.
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