Mass shootings have become increasingly common in the United States and other countries in recent years, mostly due to a rise in violence among young adults. Violence among young people, including these and other incidents, has risen to prominence as one of the primary causes of death among children and adolescents. According to Englander (2017), the United States has a greater rate of shootings involving young people, adolescents, and children than any other industrialised country. The mental and physical harm caused by acts of violence like beating, slapping, and bullying among young people is well documented (Hoffman, 2011). In addition, there are examples of assault and robbery that result in serious injuries and even fatalities, which can be committed with or without firearms.
Every day, thousands of young people, their families, communities, and schools are impacted by the rising number of recorded incidents of teenage violence. This study reviews the research on juvenile violence from many angles.
According to Englander (2017), violence is the use of physical force against a person or a group with the intention of causing or threatening to inflict death or bodily harm. Potential effects including deprivation, stunted growth, and emotional distress are all a result of these factors. According to Wilkinson (2015), violence encompasses any action taken with the intent to cause physical harm to another person, including but not limited to theft, sexual assault, and murder. Hoffman (2011) defines teenage violence as harmful behaviours that emerge at a young age and persist into young adulthood. A child might be a victim, a witness, or an abuser.
According to Ebsensen (2011), it includes young people inflicting pain on their classmates, some of whom they may or may not know. Heller (2014) chimes in by saying that juvenile violence, particularly when it involves the use of firearms to threaten or murder others, is a widespread societal pathology, especially in metropolitan communities. Key risk factors for juvenile violence, such as access to weapons, mental health, and exposure to violent media, are identified by researchers including Englander (2017), David-Ferdon et al. (2015), and Barnie et al. (2017). Other risk factors, such as misconceptions and lack of support in life, are included by Hoffman (2011).
In light of the hundreds of incidents of violence that are recorded every year, parents, school boards, and lawmakers have begun to pay more attention to the problem in an effort to find answers. Youth violence is a complex issue with no simple solutions (Ebsensen, 2011). Therefore, it is necessary to first understand the factors that put young adults at risk of being either violent perpetrators or victims. Teens who are victims of violence have a higher chance of having mental health, physical health, and health concerns such scholastic challenges, depression, high-risk sexual activity, smoking, obesity, and even suicide (Englander, 2017). The reasons of teenage aggression are discussed, including its biological, environmental, and psychological roots.
The transition into maturity and the teen years are times of heightened manifestation of established patterns of behaviour, including aggression. Therefore, it's important to learn about the causes of violence. Some teens begin displaying behavioural issues at a young age, and this can be a catalyst for the onset of violence in the community. These issues worsen prior to or throughout puberty, culminating in increasingly brutal forms of violence. Evidence from the research suggests that hostility in early adulthood and adolescence can be predicted by anger in childhood. According to Wilkinson (2015), between 47% and 69% of girls and 20% to 45% of males who are violent offenders at the age of 16-17 years acquired aggressive tendencies since childhood and are more likely to perform more violent and serious actions as adults. Especially if they are not helped, these tendencies persist throughout adulthood for some people.
Adolescence and early adulthood are peak periods for juvenile violence. The rate of occurrence then steadily declines as a person ages. The United States has a growing death toll among young people, particularly as a result of the rising number of homicides committed by those aged 4-24. As a result, American kids are exposed to and contribute to far higher rates of violence than their peers in other developed countries. According to Wilkinson (2015), the United States has a greater rate of juvenile shootings than other comparable high-income nations. Heller (2014) claims that men of different races and ethnicities are disproportionately influenced by pricing differences.
The many shootings and killings in the United States have wreaked havoc on society, with parents fearful that their children's towns and schools are no longer safe for them to grow up in. Schools and communities all around the United States have implemented prevention initiatives. But few initiatives have been assessed, and preventative measures and policies fail to deliver results. Researchers have taken notice of the rising juvenile violence epidemic because of the high number of lives lost.
Social scientists have made great gains in understanding the root causes of teenage violence and the methods for their prevention during the past decade. Family/community, culture, and biology are cited by social scientists as the primary drivers of teenage violence. Young children are able to learn and adjust to their surroundings because of their immaturity. How and with whom children form relationships is heavily influenced by the prevailing society. Those people's long-lasting traits are the direct result of the environment and upbringing they had. Social scientists claim that as children grow up, they become more aware of the consequences of their actions and are exposed to a wider range of social experiences. Adolescents, in general, have a growing desire to be accepted by their peers and an enhanced sense of community.
Such emotions heighten the ferocity of dynamic engagement, leading to an emphasis on dominance that can escalate into bullying and eventually hostile behaviour (Ebsensen, 2011). According to Englander (2017), young adults are more prone to repeat violent conduct if they are unable to establish themselves in their social group.
The United States has seen a higher rate of youth violence than any other developed country. School and street shootings have occurred, and the number of young people responsible for other acts of extreme violence against their classmates and the public is expanding. These incidents are shocking and adults from all walks of life want to know what they can do to stop them or at least lessen their impact. School shootings, according to Hoffman (2011), typically occur in safe, close-knit communities with low crime rates. Many of these incidents involve young persons with no prior record of behavioural issues. When it comes to violence, it's not uncommon for the offenders to be very intelligent and accomplished, as Wilkinson (2015) points out. Despite these detailed descriptions, however, criminals are typically viewed as lone wolves.
They are social outcasts, as defined by Antunes and Ahlin (2014), since they are unable to integrate into their peers' communities. They have a hard time adjusting to life on the outside of society. Suicidality and despair are only two of the symptoms of mental disease that have been uncovered by other investigations.
High crime rates, poverty, and a lack of social trust all contribute to an environment where young people are more likely to commit acts of violence on the street. According to Barnie et al. (2017), many of the violent actions reported in urban street shootings and most violent neighbourhoods are committed by young people living in these regions. According to Englander (2017), these young people have an ingrained sense of devotion to their home region, to the point that they are willing to injure or murder persons who are perceived as a threat to them or their communities simply to protect it.
As Englander (2017) notes, family is also a factor in young people resorting to violence. The author argues that parents and other carers may have a significant impact on whether or not young people will become violent. Family dynamics and parenting styles are major contributors to the emergence of aggressive tendencies in adolescents and young adults. Some of the most dependable indicators of violent behaviour in early adulthood and adolescence include parents who do not provide appropriate supervision and monitoring of their children and who prefer to apply punishments that are harsh and physical in nature. Inadequate parental supervision of children displaying early indicators of aggressive behaviour, inconsistent discipline, family discord, child neglect or abuse, interparental violence, and harsh or rejecting parenting all pose risks within the context of a kid's immediate family.
It has been noted by David-Ferdon et al. (2015) that these variables also contribute to an increase in health-risk behaviours, drug misuse, antisocial conduct, and mental health issues. As a result, it is important for children to form secure attachments with their carers, for parents to exercise effective and sensitive parenting through vigilant monitoring and consistent disciplinary practises, and for families to foster an environment that is well-regulated, well-managed, stable, and safe.
In addition to environmental variables, neurobiological risk factors are also implicated in teenage violence. This factor includes, but is not limited to, a person's preexisting neurocognitive, psychophysiological, genetic, and prenatal variances and difficulties. These elements produce traumatic and chronic stress with roots in formative years. Aggression and impulsive behaviour in young people are often the result of traumatic experiences in childhood, such as being abandoned or abused by a carer, experiencing sexual or physical assault, or growing up in a home where there is constant conflict. The maltreatment and deviant attitudes and behaviours that result from these contexts end up shaping the child's development in significant ways.
Children's exposure to media violence has been highlighted as a contributing factor to juvenile violence by researchers such as Antunes and Ahlin (2014), Bushman et al. (2016), and Hoffman (2011). The criminals employ what they have learnt from media scripts to physically and emotionally damage their peers, sparking questions about the relationship between teenage violence and violent media. Street shootings, in which many firearms and rounds of ammunition are utilised to murder as many people as possible, have been most frequently related to violent media. After the police or the criminals have killed each other, the masks, uniforms, or costumes are revealed to be part of the crime (Englander, 2017). As a result, watching violent media has strong ties to criminal acts of violence.
For the most part, firearms are used in American adolescent violent acts (Ebsensen, 2011). Given the prevalence of ammunition in gun deaths among young people, it's safe to assume that easy access to weapons is a major contributor to violence among young adults. The high rates of gun ownership in the United States, combined with permissive gun control legislation, has resulted in unsupervised access to firearms, especially among the kids. The United Places has a higher per capita availability of weapons compared to other high-income nations, and there has been an increase in youth homicides in states where the per capita ownership of guns has grown. Furthermore, teenage murder is influenced by the easy access to illicit firearms. The prevalence of deadly violence is affected by a number of other variables, such as alcohol use, racial make-up, and economic and social resource scarcity. According to research by Barnie et al. (2017), more African American juvenile killings are associated with more gun arrests. Suicides and unintentional shootings using firearms are included here.
Peer hierarchies and social exclusion have also been connected to an increase in juvenile violence. Young adults who resort to violence often have a history of being shunned by the very social circles into which they have tried unsuccessfully to integrate, claim Antunes and Ahlin (2014). Certain actions are taken by the adolescents to attract attention. However, they risk being shunned if their peers view them as abnormal. In a similar vein, one member might insult the group as a whole, leading to the kind of collective violence that leads young people to join local gangs in the first place.
According to Ebsensen (2011), hostility can result from a variety of rejection behaviours, including bullying, disrespect, devaluation, and exclusion. Researchers Bushman et al. (2016) found that when young people experience rejection in community, family, or peer contexts, it might make them more sensitive to the prospect of future rejection, which in turn can raise the likelihood of violent and aggressive behaviour. Rejection from peers, according to Bushman et al. (2016), is more damaging than rejection from love partners or friends, particularly among men. Because of the negative effects on self-esteem, young people are particularly vulnerable when their sense of masculinity or femininity is undermined by denial that implies devaluation and helplessness. According to Antunes and Ahlin (2014), young people' self-control is undermined by developmental changes in their brain systems during adolescence, making them more prone to engaging in dangerous activities.
Violence among young people is on the rise in developed nations. The world has a growing appetite for data on the root reasons and best methods for avoiding such incidents. More resources should be allocated to better and expand worldwide surveillance of juvenile violence cases, as well as to the development of a global infrastructure to respond to this epidemic. Youth violence can be reduced through modified intervention programmes.
Stakeholders, though, should evaluate programmes thoroughly to determine which ones are most effective. Therefore, the current structures and mechanisms can successfully tackle the problem and minimise future juvenile violence if they are redesigned. Children are adaptable, and they require training modules that are specifically designed to teach them how to exercise self-control.
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