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Teenage age is the most crucial, yet fragile stage in the life. It is a stage characterized with uncertainty and a profound desire to impress. The desire to impress peers prompts triggering teens to engage in activities they would not otherwise get involved. Activities such as drug and substance abuse, being part of a gang, possession of weapons among others, introduce teenagers to an unprecedented and murky world of violence and petty crime. Indeed, studies have confirmed that the upsurge in criminal activities and violence is largely attributable to out-of-control teenagers (Stewart & Franze%u0301n, 2002). Most teens go through all this trouble in a bid to have a sense of belonging, to look “cool” among their peers. To comprehend teen violence, its aftermath, formulate possible solutions, and understand the root causes are essential issues. This essay seeks to analyze the highlights and reasons for teen violence and possible steps that can prevent deviant activity and behavior.
Adolescent (teenage hood) is a period during which most teenagers require guidance and tendering as they begin experiencing changes of their bodies, feelings, wishes and desires. The social preferences of teenager changes and the things he/she used to like before may appear nowhere in their wish list. Therefore, a period comes with a great deal of challenge, not so much to the teenager only, but also to a host of other stakeholders including parents, teachers, and the community (Watkins, 2009).
The media has influence on the upbringing and making teenagers as law-abiding citizens. The fragility that comes with adolescence is enough to make a teenager emulate what he/she sees in print or visual media, without judging if the information or knowledge is beneficial to his/her growth or not. The media do little to rectify the situation. The constant and continuous release of video games, television shows, and comic books that seemingly worship violence worsens the situation. Teenagers watch and read these, therefore they begin looking at violence as normal. The “seed” of violence implanted on them in this way.
Another closely related factor to teen violence is the upbringing that a teen acquires. Studies show that teens brought up in poverty-stricken families have a higher probability of becoming violent in comparison to their counterparts brought up in well-to-do families. The neighborhood and the family structure also have a lot to offer in determining the outcome of a teenager as violent or not. Teenagers brought up in humble neighborhoods and raised in broken, unstable or single parent families are more likely to take up violent behavior. In such families, the parent(s) spends long working hours away from home in an effort to fend for the family (Stewart & Franze%u0301n, 2002). The teenagers interpret this as abandonment. The long hours the parents spend away from home also deny them the chance for interaction, share with their children, and possibly give guidance and correction as required.
Drug and substance abuse and unemployment are two factors that work together and which have a role to play in teen violence. When teens have no engaging activity to take part in, they more often cannot find themselves in most unfamiliar territories. Frustration and feelings of inadequacy propel them to take up drug and substance abuse. In an intoxicated state, few have full control of their subconscious mind (Watkins, 2009). This leads some teens to engage in violent activities and petty crime. The desire to acquire more drugs and maintain their extravagant lifestyle fuels violence and crime.
The onset and progress of teen violence depends on the reaction of the society. Much has been done to curb the vice, yet it is still not adequate and even more needs to be done. One way of redeeming violent teens would be to encourage an open and candid talk to give them a chance to air out their views. Some of these teens only try to get attention. The media should be involved in addressing teen violence. It should be used as a tool of pacifying and preaching calm. Warning should be aired in case violent shows have to be broadcasted. More educative and involving shows should replace violent material to redirect teen energy to more useful avenues. Lastly, parents need to take up their responsibilities and raise their children with a keener interest. Teenagers have a right to give an opinion. It should be the first rule that all parents should bear in mind.