Violence in America’s Youth: Why?

by on January 8th, 2011
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COMMENTARY | A student enters a high school cafeteria in Ohio and opens fire on his school mates, killing one and wounding four others. A young girl dies from injuries sustained in an after school fight over a young boy’s attention. A Rutgers University student is on trial in connection with the suicide of his college room mate. Two men are wanted in connection with a shooting at a Tennessee nightclub where one person was killed and 19 others wounded or injured.

Should we ask ourselves why is America’s youth becoming so violent? The culture of their upbringing could be the problem. Movies and video games are becoming more and more violent; are they affecting the way our youth approach life? Do they consider life a game with no consequences?

When a young person watches movie after movie where someone performs vicious acts of violence and comes out unharmed, are we as a people training them to think that is the real world? Video game makers release games where the object is to kill as many adversaries as possible, and parents enable their teenage children to play these games for hours on end with little or no intervention. Are we as a society approving in advance these violent acts?

Have we as a society became so complacent, we accept violence in our youth? Do we justify the bullying of young people, by saying they were gay, or a nerd, or a loner? Where in all of this is the fact these are children? Parents leave it up to teachers and school administrators to teach values and rules to their children, yet tie their hands with complaints and lawsuits. That is not the responsibility of educators, their job is to educate, not regulate.

In my opinion, the alarming rate of violence in our youth can be traced back to an even more alarming rate of justifying bad behavior at a very early age. These young people did not just one day decide to become violent. They have been trained by television, movies, video games, and parents using these electronics as babysitters instead of parenting their children.

We must change our ways of raising our youth, if we want our youth to become vital parts of society, instead of statistics of the failure of that society. We must invest in preparation not prosecution of these young people. Violence, just like almost everything else in life is a product of our environment. Violence is not natural, and we must keep it from becoming so.

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