What is Teen Violence?

Teen violence refers to violent or unacceptable, aggressive behavior by teenagers which causes mental or physical harm to a victim. Such harmful behavior starts at a very young age and can continue into adulthood. If the violent behavior is not curbed at a young age it can lead to bigger, more complex issues or serious crimes leading to emotional or physical injury or even death of the abuser or the victim.

Teen Violence can include:

  • Bullying or blackmailing
  • Getting into fights
  • Carrying and using guns or knives
  • Drug abuse and aggressive behavior
  • Mob mentality
  • Hurting animals
  • Stalking or make threatening phone calls

Teen Violence Facts and Stats

Teen Violence has become a global problem. Gun shootings have managed to capture the everyday headlines of newspapers. Sadly, it’s real and is a huge part of our society. The raging hormones, aggression and self esteem issues pave the way to teen violence. It is essential to note that not all kids who seem to be pushy, loud or aggressive become violent. Although, keeping in mind the behavior patterns can predict and curb any future violent outbreaks.

The psychology behind violence is constant with numerous factors involved, however the intensity varies. According to the Centers for Disease Control(CDC), juveniles are involved in 20% of violent crimes such as murder, rape and assault. Harsh truth! The primary reason which enables teenagers to seek the path of violence starts from home. When a child witnesses violence around him especially at home, the probability of the child learning the same behavior increases exponentially.

Here is a list of Timeline of Worldwide School and Mass Shootings

Warning signs of Teen Violence?

According to www.healthlinkbc.ca, these are the warning signs that parents and guardians should look out for and take into consideration regarding teen violence.

  • “Talking about the need to evoke violence especially as a part of a group, gang or political party.
  • Talking, writing, or drawing about death and violence.
  • Having unexplained mood changes.
  • Showing aggression, losing temper easily.
  • Getting into fights.
  • Aggressive actions including:
    • Hurting siblings or animals.
    • Teasing, threatening, stalking or bullying others.
  • Damaging or vandalizing property.
  • Using alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.
  • Indulging in high risk-taking behavior, such as speeding, drinking and driving, or high-risk sexual behaviors.
  • Carrying knives or firearms. Having access to a gun increases the likelihood of teen homicide 3 times and teen suicide 5 times.
  • Buying or talking about other means, such as poisons, that could kill or harm others.
  • Not taking responsibility for his or her actions or saying that the actions are justified because of how he or she has been treated.”

Who are vulnerable to Teen Violence?

There are various risk factors involved which can trigger teen violence. Normally, teenagers with poor parental supervision, violence or abuse practiced at home, harsh/inconsistent disciplinary rules, abandonment or decreased involvement with the family, and less emotional attachment with family members-take up violence to fill in the voids they are psychologically dealing with.

As intense as the effect of the family situation can be on children, school and social life influence to quite a large extent. Involvement in gangs, use of illegal substances, social rejection, poor grades in studies and association with delinquent individuals can divert your child to step into the sinister world of violence.

Recognizing the trigger can be pretty complex. But the foremost step which can be taken is to practice healthy relationship values amongst your family members. As a parent, setting a good example for your teen has the maximum influence on him/her.

Prevention of Teen Violence

  • Talk to him/her. Preaching violence will never take them anywhere, it is the integrity of moral righteousness which makes an individual stand out. Express yourself in a calm and reasonable manner. Do not act upon the issue by critiquing or showing anger. It’ll just make the situation as complicated and daunting.
  • Well, ever since the virtual world has literally taken control all over the world with its mushroom growth, the impact on certain children and teens have also taken a low road in contrast. The advent of video games has affected young teens to an extent that it mould them to adapt to the graphic representation they see. Ninety-seven percent of adolescents account to be influenced by the violence. This increases the aggressiveness with decreased empathy and social behavior. They assume the content shown is acceptable.
  • Content matters. Parental supervision matters. Thus, the role of a parent is paramount. Limiting the playing hours of the video games along with the moderation of content will help a great deal and make a drastic difference in the behavior.
  • A disorder known as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is seen commonly in teenagers and even children as young as seven years who tend to display aggressive or argumentative behavior, defiance and irritability. When the symptoms persist for longer than six months with significant issues at work or school, there could be an underlying deeper problem. It is certainly not necessary that any symptom mentioned above has to indicate the disorder, it could just be a phase. But if there is high frequency of such behavior patterns compared to his peers, seek help from your doctor.

Read More: Teenagers Inflicting Self Harm or Self Injury