Adolescent Violence

Thus, these desires are correlated through television not only through subliminal messaging but through clear lines of the reporting of violence almost twice as much as any other news. In defining the deviance of a juvenile his or her own personal issues towards conformity become apparent. There is of course the issue of morality with problems about crimes.

For a delinquent, their understanding about crime, and their acts therein, depend independently upon who has previously governed their conceptions of the criminal lifestyle, since television is being used more often as a babysitter then the exposure rating to television programs as influential are obviously correlated. On this issue, Hirschi states, “In strain theory, man is a moral animal. His morality accounts for the pressure that I built into the model.

If morality is removed, however, if man is seen as an amoral animal, then tremendous pressure is unnecessary in accounting for his deviance” (Hirschi 10). A child, to a certain extent is not solely responsible for their own actions, because they mirror what has been presented to them. Parents should be highly considered when any discussion or debate about the morality of children and their proceeding stature as a criminal is discussed.

With this understanding of the juvenile mindset, the parental control over the thoughts and sentiments that juvenile has towards crime should be discussed; just as self-policing for certain programs is initiated so should parents have controls or blocks for certain television programs. The amount of exposure a child has with their parents may be considered positive or negative in regards to rehabilitation or the furthering of the child’s life into crime depending on the morality of the parents, just as their exposure to crime and violence on television heightens so does their desire to perform such acts correlate with watching these programs.

Hirschi gives us the fact that parental control may be a great deterrent to a life of crime, not only in mediating what the child watches on television but also how much television they watch, “In 1989 the average child in the US still spent more time watching television than performing any other activity except sleeping” (Bender and Bruno 146). In control theory it is believed that the greater the bond between a parent and a child, the less likely it is for that child to become delinquent (Hirschi 83).

When a child contemplates a criminal act, according to control theory, and decides to either follow through with the act or to discard the act, depends upon the extent to which that their parents are moral beings have ingrained in that child such morality. On this subject, Hirschi states, “In the light of the cultural deviance perspective, the child unattached to his parents is simply more likely to be exposed to “criminogenic influences. ” He is, in other words, more likely to be free to take up with a gang.

His lack of attachment to his parents is, in itself, of no moral significance”  (Hirschi 85). The attachment a child exhibits to their parents should have great influence on the juvenile court system as to whether or not the child can be rehabilitated. Since the morality of a parent seems to have great sway as to the sentiments and sometimes actions of a juvenile delinquent, the parent should be given custody and paroling powers over the child instead of a juvenile institution or prison.

The socialization from the earliest stage of child development is dependent upon the parent, unless, as the above statement has emphasized, the child is exposed more to television than to a parent’s morality, “The data on social phenomenon or television violence and/or aggressive behavior will never be clear enough for all social scientists to agree on the formulation of a succinct statement of causality. But there comes a time when the data are sufficient to justify action” (Campbell 156). The conformity a child feels they must succumb to is the conformity the parent instills in the child.

Hirschi states that in control theory advocates of alternative law enforcement find the internalization of norms depends on the early socialization the child has been exposed to under the guidance of the parent; but since early socialization is being conducted through the device of the television set, delinquent behavior is rising, “Adolescence is malleable and TV can give teenagers their first real glimpse into the secretive adult world of sex, drugs, and success long before they are able to learn about it first hand” (Strasburger 7).

The emotional bond between television and child delivers to the child the same mores and values held in esteem of the media exposure. In theorizing about the issue of violence being acted out by children as they have witnessed on television, “…excitement expressed by media exposure may transfer to other ongoing activities, thus heightening the intensity of whatever emotion is in play at that time…the vicarious media experiences may either encourage or inhibit behavior by evoking certain associations, images or thoughts…television programs provide young people with behavioral scripts that can be retrieved at any time” (Strasburger 8).

American television, movies and culture are some of the most violent in the world, and as such it is a statistical proof that such exposure to these violent scenes ultimately lead the viewer to repeat these actions in real life or expect life to continually be a barrage of violence (Strasburger 21). A child watching television will witness in eighteen years, 200,000 murders (Strasburger 21). Not only is violence shown on television through the news, but it is even reality television shows which furthers the remarkable nature of aggression being shown as a reality on television (Strasburger 21).

Movies are also a large part of the problem for violence; so a child watching anything from cartoons, to movies, to music videos will be bombarded by the American culture and its gluttony for violence. This paper has argued that media violence attributes to real world violence. The counterarguments were also given in the form of NBC, CBS, and ABC’s own study on violence on television but this counterargument was found to be omission with the inclusion of the Senate Bill 332.

This was one of the strongest points of validity to the argument that media violence instigates and perpetuates real world violence. In conclusion, the fact remains stalwart that in the exposure time for children watching television and the amount of violence with which they are exposed to during this leisure activity, the aggression in children and teenagers is raising due to the socialization of television subliminally telling them that violence is expected, accepted, and normal, thus giving them license to be aggressive. Conclusion

It is the family system that becomes the negotiating factor in rehabilitation. The juvenile justice system, when incarcerating an offender does no one any good; even if society supposedly feels ‘safer’ with the child behind bars, the child will more than likely grow into a criminal lifestyle after repeated exposure to crime in jail. Rehabilitative programs service both society and the offender in that they offer a chance for the offender to give back to society. Placing an offender in jail is the easy way out of a difficult situation.

It temporarily relieves the stress that individual placed on society but once that child becomes an adult, because of the unlimited exposure they had to crime against them and participated in during their unfortunate incarceration; they will again commit their felonious acts on society, as Campbell states, Research during the past decade is beginning to show clearly that programs for young offenders and other at-risk youth can work if they are built on principles that lead to effective behavior and attitude change.

The task is not easy. There are no short-term solutions, nor will any single program likely address all aspects of the problem. Counselors and educators must have available a repertoire of programs that meet individual and group needs. (Campbell 1997, 3) It is in the family to prevent the recurrence of a young offender to crime. Programs assist in rehabilitation only part of the way; the main focus of treatment should be heavily stressed in the support system offered by the family.

The length of time any juvenile delinquent spends with family members is time away crime. The family gives encouragement to a new lifestyle and support for the moral actions now taken upon by the offender, as Hirschi states, “A traditional explanation of the ineffectiveness of disorganized areas in controlling deviant behavior emphasized their anonymity, the failure of adult authorities, relatives (who are back in the old country or back on the farm), and neighbors to communicate relevant information to the parents.

This factor is undoubtedly important in determining the overall rate of delinquency in an area” (Hirschi 1969, 108).


Agnew, Robert and Huguley, Sandra. 1989. Adolescent Violence Towards Parents: Journal of Marriage and Family. 51. (August): 699-711. Aspy, Cheryl et al. 2004. Adolescent Violence:  Journal of Counseling and Development. 82. (Summer). 268-276.