Violence and Today's Youth

Essay by raet1University, Bachelor'sB, May 2009

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Violence is either the only or the most effective way to achieve status, respect, and other basic social and personal needs. There are probably an infinite number of types of aggression that individuals are going to come up with of new ways of hurting one another.

In today's world there needs to be a definition that combines the best features of what is already known about aggression and what is yet to be known about it. A definition like, "behavior intended to injure or harm another person or group of persons either physically or psychologically" (Baron& Richardson1994; Bartol 2002; Bartol & Bartol 2004; Berkowitz 1993).

The initial causes of violence are found in the early learning experiences in the family. They involve: weak family bonding and ineffective monitoring and supervision; exposure to and reinforcement for violence in the home; and the acquisition of expectations, attitudes, beliefs, and emotional responses which support or tolerate the use of violence (Elliott 1997).

Exposure to violence at an early age may involve witnessing either violence or physical abuse in familial situations. Research suggests that these forms of exposure to violence during childhood increase the risk of violent behavior during adolescence by as much as 40% (Elliott 1997). Still, most who are victims of violence and physical abuse at a young age do not go on to become serious violent offenders. While exposure to real violence and physical abuse on the part of family members has stronger modeling effects, heavy exposure to violence on television is also casually linked to later violence (Elliott 1997). Television being the "babysitter" in many homes, with little or no monitoring or supervision of content, where there is strong family bonding, effective teaching of moral values and norms, and effective monitoring of behavior, the effect of exposure to violence on...