Teen aggression and violence is a growing concern in our society. It appears on the news almost daily, from bullying to weapons on campus. When we hear the words teen violence, most of us think of school shootings. The situation has escalated over the past few decades and now more and more of our youth are dying by the hands of their peers. In this paper we will explore the situation of teen violence, causes of aggression, and what we can do to prevent future acts of teen violence.
Teens act out aggression in many ways. Kassin, Fein, & Markus (2011) defines aggression as behavior intended to harm another individual (pg. 436). When it is an extreme act of aggression then it becomes violence. One theory as to why teens act out in violence involves modeling aggressive behaviors. When teens are consistently exposed to violence at home, video games, in the movies, or on the street, they are more inclined to copy such behaviors. Others, who experience bullying or teasing, become enraged enough to begin acting out in revenge. This can be another cause of teen violence. Lashing out in response to what has been seen or experienced does not account for all instances of teen violence, however. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one in three high school students say they have been in a physical fight in the past year. In many movies and television shows torture and brutal acts of murder are shown as if they are a normal part of daily life. They may also influence young people the value of revenge, and portray violence as a way to resolve issues. 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. Unless parents are monitoring what their children are being exposed to than they are more than likely being exposed to this type of programing on a regular basis.
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References: Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, H. (2011). Social psychology (8th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Sahley, B.J., (2004). Teen Anger and Aggression. Neurotransmitter Deficiency
Pain & Stress Publications.
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