Youth Violence: the Problem's Not as Big as It Seems

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Youth Violence: the Problem's Not as Big as It Seems

By | March 2000
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Youth Violence Reality Check: The Problem's Not as Big as it Seems
Violence is a never-ending problem that our society has battled with since the beginning of time. To most people, the most ridiculous and most noticeable violence is adolescent crime. While these crimes committed by children and adolescents fascinate the public and generate a great deal of media attention, youth violence is actually less serious than reported.

Fifteen people are dead, twenty-three wounded in the worst school massacre in history.
The two gunmen were dead at Columbine High in a small town Littleton,
Denver (Colorado). Suspects were "fascinated with W.W.II and the Nazis."
April 20, 1999 Hitler's Birthday. (qtd. in Devitt)
The story flashes across the television screen, floating from state to state, country to country, giving society the accusing, misinterpreted view of today's "violent youths." Media reports debated for days about the problem of increasing teenage violence. Most reports exaggerated that the public was unsafe by youth "lawlessness" (Schwartz, Wendy). "Youth violence is not as pervasive as is feared" (Schwartz, Wendy). The media also tends to point out the fact that adolescents have increased the dangerous use of weapons. P.A. Strasburg states realistically, juvenile violence is considerably less serious in the aggregate than violence by adults" (qtd. in Schwartz, Ira 52).

The output of the media goes straight to the public, giving society as a whole the same misperception as the media. "Parents are a lot more concerned for their kids nowadays even though their kids are in a more stable environment than the parents themselves were as children" (Schwartz, Ira 53). Stability through technology and general better living have given children more security. America's adolescents are not as violent and unlawful as the public thinks (Devitt).

Researchers have been finding out that both the media and the public have been exaggerating the...

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