I believe that juvenile violence is not as simple as it looks. Misbehavior is one thing but crime, theft, rape and murder are different things all together. One must look at the background of American teenagers to fully understand and identify what drives them to these violent acts. American society is so bent on keeping its high standards of living. This takes its toll on parents who need to work instead of take care of their children. This leaves the children to do what they want to do to pass boring time.
This attracts them to activities that expose them to violence risk factors. Most of the time, the right to freedom of choice is distorted to mean that I can do whatever I want. Very few mothers are left to take care of their children during the primary years because they have to work. It is almost expected that in families nowadays, both parents should have jobs to ensure that the basic needs of the children are met. One basic need, “attention”, is overlooked and this ignorance can cause children to grow up with the wrong values.
In a study undertaken at Cornell University, researchers believe that adolescents who are exposed to family problems, violence in their environment, noise and rough residential conditions, are affected in the form of stress. However, when they have responsive, supportive mothers, they do not experience these negative physiological changes. (Lang 2007) This emphasizes the role of parents to guide and comfort their children from the violence-inducing factors in and outside of the home.
Since children are mostly left to “hang out” without constant adult supervision, it is important that they pass away the time doing positive instead of negative activities. More and more teenagers are attracted to playing video games or watching television instead of getting into sports. The average time that American children watch TV shows is three to four hours a day. This is most probably because video games and television are more accessible to anyone compared to programs that would be more beneficial.
The effect of violence on television and video games cannot be ignored. Children exposed regularly to this activity tend to be desensitized to violence, wrongly learn to understand that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems and tend to imitate the aggressive behavior of what they are watching because they tend to identify with the characters in the shows and games. With the knowledge of lethal weapons inside their own homes, these children, who of course lack the maturity to think of possible consequences, can be easily provoked to do something physically aggressive.
In another study, students who were more addicted to video games were significantly more likely to be in a bad mood before, during, and after play that were non-addicted students. (Walsh) This moodiness can lead to feelings of depression that in turn result to aggressive behavior. Video games end up being sources of stress instead of its original purpose of alleviating stress through entertainment. American society and its government need to really study the reasons why juveniles are far becoming more violent yearly.
Changes in moral, financial, educational, and parental or family values need to be reformed to help lessen children who have the tendency to be violent.
Lang, S. (April 27, 2007). Chronicle Online. 04 May 2007 < http://www. news. cornell. edu/stories/April07/youths. stressed. sl. html>. Walsh, D. (2001). Video Game Violence and Public Policy. 04 May 2007 <http://cultural policy. uchicago. edu/conf2001/papers/walsh. html>.