Violence is everywhere and due to this notion people find ways to accept it. Violence has been a part of our national consciousness, making way for it to be accepted as a social construct. Violent acts cannot be wholly understood unless we examine them as one link in the chain of a long process of events. Violence and the responses to it are socially constructed, they are viewed and interpreted in many different ways.
Youth violence in particular stems from multiple causes ranging from Family based causes that could consist of parental neglect caused by alcoholism, drugs, lack of interest or lack of time due to some other reason, or early exposure to violent video games and violence can also be attributed towards the rise of "gang culture" which affects thousands of
young people each day, and victims are not the only heirs of violence, but also deeply harming their families, friends, and communities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) broadly deﬁnes youth violence as an adverse childhood experience and is connected to other forms of violence, including child abuse and neglect, teen dating violence, adult intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and suicide.
For parents and educators of teens, it is important to recognise that these types of violent behaviours are more prevalent than they should be. In fact, homicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 19 years old in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Additionally, a study by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that youth violence can become a form of "street justice" in response to the lack of police protection or patrols in poorer neighbourhoods. When this happens, teens may attempt to secure the
neighbourhood by using violence as a way of bringing order to the area. As a result, youth violence often manifests as gang violence. These teens often come from violent homes where they were victims of child abuse and neglect. Being more aggressive, these children were often rejected by their peers. Another reason is media, two common effects from media are imitation and fear. Today’s youth are constantly surrounded by significant acts of violence on TV, in movies, and in video games. Many experts in education and psychology believe that children are acting out what they see. The acts can easily be reacted due to constant exposure. For many children, TV and video games have become their primary role models. Unless parents and teachers take the time and responsibility to teach children respectful values, they will learn problem solving, coping skills and conflict resolution from video role models.
Raising awareness about youth violence becomes more important as often the person who is struggling can’t reach out and hence by opening up about what you’re going through with others, you slowly become desensitized in a sense. You begin to normalize your “condition” to the extent that it didn’t seem like such a foreign mentality. As a result of opening up, others grow courageous enough in their own experience, creating a sense of community and comradery that is irreplaceable. Others will then feel comfortable to advocate towards the cause.
Prevention and intervention strategies include programmes that support parents and teach positive parenting skills, preschool programmes that provide children with academic and social skills at an early age, therapeutic approaches for youths at high risk of being involved in violence. Having said that more should be done the moment anyone notices that any young teenager is showing any signs of a problem. They must be suffering from feelings of inadequacy, and have a very low self esteem. There needs to be more involvement with each child, and they should be encouraged to talk about their feelings, and drawn out of their shells.
In conclusion, youth violence reduction and intervention is best effected by: support for victims, enhancing parenting skills, transforming school curricula, and tackling poverty. Above all, young people involved in violence should be conceptualized as vulnerable children rather than offenders.
American Psychological Association, 2016, Vol. 71, No. 1, 17–39
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010a). Understanding youth violence. Retrieved from : https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/YV-FactSheet-a.pdf
National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, Listenbee, R. L., & Torre, J. (2012). Report of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from : https://www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood.
World Health Organization. (2002). World report on violence and health. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization. Retrieved from: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2002/9241545615_chap1_eng.pdf