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Youth Violence

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Youth Violence

Youth violence is an escalating problem in American society today. There are many different factors that can be blamed for this problem. During the last decade of the twentieth century people began searching for answers to this dilemma which is haunting America. Many tragic school shootings have taken place within the last decade that have gained the attention of the public. As of now, no one can give the right answer to the problem or the reason that it happens because there is no right answer yet and nobody can be sure that they know the cause. All we have to go by are the opinions of different people.

The most popular cause of the problem of youth violence is the media. In "The Erosion of Empathy," Sissela Bok says,

Few imagine that media violence 'makes' someone act out their aggressions. Many factors are at issue, though not all are present in any one case: depression, drugs, anxiety, parental neglect or abuse, access to lethal weapons and instructions about how to construct bombs. ... glamorized media violence contributes powerfully to blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Immaturity, anger, fierce enjoyment of media violence, and access to deadly weapons make for a Combustible mix.

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Sissela Bok gets a good point across. Bok's idea is that there is not just one cause, but that the many factors stated in the quote above put together have influence on youth violence, but she does stress the issue of violence in the media. The media is represented in many different ways including video games, movies, television, magazines, and newspapers.

Some interactive games invite players to assume the role of 'first person shooters' and reward them for shooting and eviscerating victims in glory and photo-realistic detail. Youngsters are familiar with films portraying the murder of classmates, parents, and teachers as thrilling. (Bok 247)

Much of this problem dealing with youth violence and the media is blamed on television and movies. "There are also the blood-drenched movies any kid can watch on HBO or network TV and teen cable shows like 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'South Park,' where kids' decent impulses are derided and snuffed out every week." (Sleeper 250) Children become engrossed in this type of television shows and look forward to the new episode every week. It is hard not to wonder what is going through these children's heads as they watch.

On the other hand Mike Males says:

The biggest predictor of whether a teen will become a smoker, a drunk, or a druggie is whether or not the child grows up amid adult addicts. Suicide and murder rates among white teenagers resemble those of white adults, and suicide and murder rates of black teens track those of black adults. (Males 258)

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This statement brings up another opinion, the opinion that children's behavior stems from their parents' or elders' behaviors. A young male, who is brought up in a violent household, is more likely to be violent outside of the home. This idea brings us back to the saying monkey see, monkey do; what children see is what they will do.

Among our many solutions to youth violence is the idea that too many guns are not the problem, but too few guns is the problem. "The Colorado Legislature is currently debating a bill to further enhance the state's conceal-carry statute. Those backing the measure say that a teacher or administrator with a concealed gun could have stopped, or greatly minimized, the Littleton tragedy." (Lee 255) Lee says, "Blaming guns for such ludicrous." His solution to our rising problem of youth violence is not censoring the media, but is bringing more guns in the mainstream. This does not mean children walking around school armed. It means putting more guns into the right hands. At first glance this proposals sounds pretty good. When one puts some thought into it, it somewhat changes their perspective on the issue. Does this solution seem ethical; giving guns to any person that has any bit of authority in a school? It would be rather chaotic.

I would like to share my opinion on the issue of youth violence. In order to live in a more perfect world people must change their ways. Parents should not be concerned with censorship of the media. They are the censors. Parents are there to teach their children things such as the differences between right and wrong and good and bad.

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The pressure of forming a more perfect society for today's children cannot be placed fully on the government or the media. It must start at home. More parents have to take more control of their children's words and actions. And to do this it must start when the children are young.

"Claims that TV causes violence bear little relation to real behavior. Japanese and European kids behold media as graphically brutal as that which appears on American screens, but seventeen-year-olds



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