Essay on Exposure to Violence and Violence Among Youth

5 pages
1287 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
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Violence is among the major causes mortality in the United States among the youth. Research has indicated that most of the forms of violence such as exposure to bullying, media violence, neighborhood violence, and corporal punishment are related to the development of aggressive emotional adjustment that in turn lead to violence in the youth. There is a innumerable of research that has been carried out to validate the argument that exposure to violence makes the youth develop violent behaviors. This paper will major into delineating whether exposure to violence causes violence among the youth.

To start with, parental disapproval to youth behavior in forms of corporal violence by the parents or the school has been demonstrated to cause violence among the youth. In a study, youths who engaged in physical violence indicated that their parents or teacher used corporal punishment in instilling discipline (Spano and Richard 83). Use of physical punishment affects the attitudes, aggression, and intention of the youth and therefore makes them susceptible to be perpetrators of violence in future. It is still worthwhile for parents and teachers to instill protective measures against violent behaviors among the youth through parental disapproval. However, use of corporal punishment poses a risk of violence among the youth.

Similarly, adolescents from homes experiencing domestic violence are at advanced risk of becoming violent. The children in such families develop negative developmental progress relating to their anxiety, externalization of problems, depression, and difficulty in emotional expressions. Parent in families marred with domestic violence have reduced levels of emotional coaching which is central to children upbringing (Bowes, Nicola, and Mary 164). Therefore, they are not in a position to coach their children against violence by helping them in the identification, expression, and management of their emotions. This is because the parents themselves are victims of violence. Emotional coaching plays a vital role in helping the child adjust when exposed to triggers of violence. Furthermore, children learn emotional regulation through their increased interactions with the parents. Therefore, when parents are engaged in domestic violence, it is most likely that the children will emulate them and display the same characters as a youth. Therefore, it becomes difficult for the parents to help their children. Continued exposure to domestic violence has a longstanding effect on the child`s development into the adolescent stage.

Moreover, youth exposure to abusive adults makes them develop violent and aggressive behaviors. Ideally, when children regularly witness adults engaging in abuses against one another, there is a high possibility that they also develop violent behaviors (Chen and Xiaojin 244). Whether the youth are victims of this violence or are the witnesses of violence, they develop behavioral problems. This makes them possible future perpetrators of violence or aggression. It is common that when a child witnesses the parent victimizing elderly persons in the family, the children will emulate the aggressive and violent behaviors as displayed by the parent. This is because the parents act as the role models for the youth and anything done by the parent is bound to be repeated by the child. This means that parents have to resort to productive and harmonious conflict resolution and anger management techniques.

Furthermore, a child exposed to violent practices such as bullying and intimidation by peers is likely to resort to violent behaviors (Antunes, Maria, and Eileen 168). This is because the child develops the fear of being harmed and therefore can develop means of countering the violence from peers. A bullied child exhibits a series of psychological disturbance, and this escalates when the child does not feel the need to involve the parent. Therefore, the child develops coping skill which might include harmful and violent measures. Nevertheless, the youth from poor backgrounds living in slums where there are street gangs engaging in violent behaviors is more likely to develop violent and aggressive behaviors. For instance, a youth who lives in a slum area where he experiences regular stealing and looting is expected to become violent too.

Notwithstanding, the American Academy of Pediatrics researched the influence of media on youth violence. In the study, it was revealed that violence in the media contributes to violence desensitization, aggressive behaviors, fears of potential harm and nightmares (Spano and Richard 85). All these effects are psychological and have developmental repercussions. Continued exposure to media violence in the form of films and video games makes the child insensitive to forms of violence, and the child comes to accept the aggression displayed in the media. This makes the child develop violent behaviors later in adolescent if the necessary adjustment measures through the parent are not taken. Studies have also concluded that children usually imitate the strange behaviors they witness in television programs, and this affects their behavior.

However, there exist numerous longitudinal studies that dispute the relationship between violence among the youth and media. The proponents have fronted the notion that the possibility that the youth develops aggressive and violent behavior is dependent on other factors rather than wholesomely from exposure to the media. For instance, when the child views a violent film, it is not likely that they become violent without being exposed to the factors that facilitate violence such as availability of victims, hyperactivity of the youth, substance abuse, peer pressure, poverty, IQ level, availability of guns, and lack of parental guidance on adjustment measures. However, regardless of the positions of these studies, there is still sufficient evidence to substantiate the fact that youth exposure to violence makes them develop violent behaviors. There is almost a 13% increment in violent and aggressive behavior in youth after viewing violent television programs.

Similarly, the National Rifle Association (NRA) also revealed an association between media violent and violent behaviors among the youth. The NRA accused the media of orchestrating violent movies and video games which leads to mass violence (Zaykowski and Heather 5). However, the assertion has not been taken through significant research. It is common that youth who are aggressive and prone to stress and depression are more likely to be bullies and delinquent after watching and playing the video games. Therefore, it is advisable that the parents protect their children by giving them relevant emotional support. Studies reveal that there is a likelihood of only 6% of youth who can be affected emotionally by violent media.

Due to the factors highlighted, it is clear that exposure to violence among the youth leads them to adopt violent behaviors. Violence among the youth is a vice that needs to be addressed among the youth by the society if there is need to control future criminal activities and general violence behaviors. The society especially the parent has to use relevant techniques in reducing the effects of the risk factors that cause violence among the youth such as exposure to violence from the media, peers, family members among others. Parents have to develop supportive parental mechanisms that help children adjust in their emotional intelligence.

Works Cited

Antunes, Maria Joao Lobo, and Eileen M. Ahlin. "Youth Exposure To Violence In The Community: Towards A Theoretical Framework For Explaining Risk And Protective Factors." Aggression And Violent Behavior, vol 34, 2017, pp. 166-177. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.avb.2017.01.015.

Bowes, Nicola, and Mary McMurran. "Cognitions Supportive of Violence and Violent Behavior." Aggression And Violent Behavior, vol 18, no. 6, 2013, pp. 660-665. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.avb.2013.07.015.

Chen, Xiaojin. "Childhood Onset of Behavioral Problems And Violent Victimization Among Serious Juvenile Offenders." Youth Violence And Juvenile Justice, vol 14, no. 3, 2015, pp. 243-256. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/1541204014568124.

Spano, Richard. "First Time Gun Carrying And The Primary Prevention Of Youth Gun Violence For African American Youth Living In Extreme Poverty." Aggression And Violent Behavior, vol 17, no. 1, 2012, pp. 83-88. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.avb.2011.10.002.

Zaykowski, Heather. "Victim Consciousness Among Youth and Their Responses To Violent Encounters." Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2016, p. 088626051664229. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/0886260516642292.

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