Teen Violence

Teen Violence
Teen violence is a serious and rapidly growing problem in America. From the horrible incident at Columbine, Colorado to the everyday incidents of youth violence, it is apparent that the problem is growing not shrinking. There are, according to most studies, several possible contributing factors which lead young people to violent behavior.
One problem facing children growing up in America is today
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Teen Violence
Teen violence is a serious and rapidly growing problem in America. From the horrible incident at Columbine, Colorado to the everyday incidents of youth violence, it is apparent that the problem is growing not shrinking. There are, according to most studies, several possible contributing factors which lead young people to violent behavior.
One problem facing children growing up in America is today’s media bombardment. Children growing up in today’s media bombardment, is that they are learning all the wrong things at all the wrong times. Crime can become a way of life to adolescents. They look up to drug dealers, admire rock stars, and imitate robbers. Television, the media, and music are all distorting the rules of society, and are the most influential things in a youths’ life. Instead of what would of been, back in the 80’s, an innocent game of catch with their fathers, children are inside watching a murderer blow up thousands of people.
“Today’s children, unlike those of earlier generations, are fed a steady diet of glorified violence … By the age of sixteen, Mulligan 2
the typical child has witnessed as estimated 200,000 acts of violence, including 33,000 murders. Inevitably, contend many experts, some youngsters will imitate the brutality in real life.” – TimeMagazine
The media bombardment that teens are faced with in society distorts the laws of reality, and as one sociologist puts it: ” adolescents show little if any concern for the physical injury or harm inflicted for their victims.( Lang p. 44)” In addition to these factors, when parents are violent around their children, research shows that the children grow up at ao guarantees “ghetto children” of having a fat wallet as well as providing status and the chance to move their way up to even higher positions with more attainable cash. Juveniles are the ones now trafficking drugs throughout the streets,
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since they will receive lesser penalties than an adult. Stunningly, children start trafficking drugs as early as eight years old, and these same children usually join a gang by the time they are twelve. The drug business is a very organized, structured, rule abiding business with different job opportunities for different ages. As early as eight years old, they are recruited as “lookouts,” making up to 900 dollars a week. When children enter their teen years they begin to move up the ladder as ” runners,” making over 300 dollars a day. From here, assuming the child has not been shot he can become a dealer earning some 3,000 dollars per day.

The rising use of crack cocaine in the last decade has made the problem even worse. ” In all my years of experience, I’ve never seen a drug that’s more frightening and more of a menace than crack because of the violent reaction and nature of those addicted to the substance.(Adams. E p. 69)” In Los Angeles, crack is blamed for escalating violence by ten times what it used to be. Another drug causing violent behavior is alcohol. It is linked to some 10,000 murders every year in the U.S., not to mention all the other petty crimes it causes. Experts agree that the mix of guns and drugs in adolescents, worsened by the desperation of poverty, is a lethal one, a mix so deadly
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that it is killing thousands of young children and imprisoning thousands more.
” Television did have an effect on me right from the beginning. In first grade, I was a member of a four-kid gang that went around imitating TV westerns. We’d disrupt class to play out scenes. picking up chairs and hitting people over the head with them— except, unlike on TV, the chairs didn’t brake, the kids did. – Brandon Tartikoff, Former President of the National Broadcasting Company
The next significant topic to be discussed is the influences of the TV, the media and parents and how they can create the outcome of adolescents. The truth is that media violence primes children to see violence as acceptable. Studies show that the line between fantasy and reality, which is a clear line for most adults, can become very blurred for vulnerable children. ” We are raising generations of children who learn at a very early age to associate horrific violence with pleasure and excitement – a dangerous association for a civilized society.(Grossman p. 3).” It is important to note that in the media, violence can be a positive aspect in adolescents, so long as the acts are not glamorized and are shown in a negative light as causing human suffering and pain. In video games especially, violence is rather routine, and doesn’t illustrate the true sensations of pain and suffering, but rather rewards you for
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the amount of pain you can give out. Studies prove that such exposure to violence, day in and day out, will make us insensitive, perhaps immune to human pain.
“There are kids out there who would love to put on their camouflage and hold a knife in their mouth and go out and slit someone’s throat…. You see them on their way to school with books in one hand and an ice cream cone in another, and you would never know it” – Ohio policesergeant
Adolescents views on life are also beginning to take a turn for the worst. They are now more worried about social recognition, wealth and power that they leave no room to experience the true journey of life. According to many psychologists many children are even missing the childhood stage of life, and moving on too quickly to adult worlds. TV, the media and video games are all to blame for this tragedy. They are changing the chemistry of children when they are at such a vulnerable age. At the ages of four till ten, children are beginning to form their conscience as well as their physiological, psychological, and cultural makeup. With the large outbursts of violence in their lives, children are forming a negative conscience.
These kids are… neglected by
their parents from birth. They live in the street, and don’t care if they live
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or die. They think they’re worthless… and so they think nobody else is worth anything, either. They’re filled with rage, and they take it out on anybody who looks at them sideways.

– A former probation officer
from Brooklyn, N.Y.


Parents are the biggest influence on a child being that they can control every aspect of their lives, from TV shows to their friends. Parents have to start teaching their children from a very early age, what life is all about. They need to learn about the sacredness of humans and about the pain and suffering that violence causes. When parents don’t raise their children right a lot of bad things can happen. Children might not learn how to control their frustration and anger, and resort to violence as an easier problem solver. Violence is ” the eruption of pent up passion,(May p39.). The roots of violence may be found in many emotions: frustration, which is when people can’t get what they want. As frustration builds the urge to express it aggressively grows even stronger. Anger is a temporary feeling taht often goes hand-in-hand with frustration and sometimes causes aggression and violence. When anger becomes so intense that it is overpowering then violence can erupt. Hatred, unlike anger, is a longer- lasting feeling that is often directed at a whole group. This is a very violent feeling because it
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is a wish to injure or destroy. Powerlessness is when an individual feels they can not improve their life, their self esteem is non existing. They feel insignificant, unimportant, and powerless.
Violence in America is ” largely a cry for self-recognition, a statement to prove that one is significant and has the power to make an impact( Lang p. 42).” As frustration builds up, causing anger and frustration, aggressive urges force a person out of control. ” Ones mind becomes foggy, and perception of the enemy becomes unclear; one loses awareness of the environment and wants only to act out this inner compulsion to do violence. Violence is a way to prove one’s power, to establish the worth of the self… No desire or time to think is left once the violence breaks out.(Berger. pg.42).” As children approach their teen years, hormones start to rage, causing havoc moods and tempers. The teens who don’t learn to control these urges usually resort to violence or vulgarity. As youngsters begin their journey through adolescence, they undergo profound physical, intellectual. and emotional changes. Their self-image and self-esteem are fragile and in a constant state of change. ” They may be unpredictable, inconsistent and at times scared but trying hard not to show it. One psychoanalyst states: ” A normal adolescent isn’t a normal adolescent if he acts
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normal( Viorst pg.44).” Children have to learn how to control their emotions at an early age, which is usually the job of parents. For those children that do not have the luxury of a loving nurturing family, a good education, and a supportive community, life is different. Yet no matter how stressful childhood can be, most teenagers do not respond violently. The most powerful place to learn violence is in the family. When violence is glorified by the culture, as it is in America, it becomes easier to understand why our country is plagued by a wave of teen violence.
Violence is similar to a disease, that is slowly infecting our children. If not dealt with it will continue to spread and infect more and more individuals. As teens fight their way through adolescence, they are vulnerable to influences and pressures around them. When their environment is full of hatred, neglect, and poverty, where guns are present along with drug abuse, and unemployment, teenagers will adapt to its savage ways. Children keep becoming more and more violent at an earlier age in their life. The children fall hopelessly into the cracks of drug abuse and hatred with no way out.

We need to slow this cycle of violence down by first realizing the severity of the problem. If we neglect to devote our best efforts in the battle of teen violence, the disease will spread rotting the very soul of society.
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of violence down by first realizing the severity of the problem. If we neglect to devote our best efforts in the battle of teen violence, the disease will spread rotting the very soul of society.
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