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"Outline how our environment plays a role in causing children to kill?"

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12th August 2004 Victoria Ulett "Outline how our environment plays a role in causing children to kill?" The topic of investigation into the psychology of criminal minds is one that interests me greatly. Crime is always surrounding us in some way and yet most of us as a society turn a blind eye to and dismiss it, but there are some people such as myself who take interest in it and want to find out the reasons as to why it happens. Also, as I would like to become a criminal psychologist in the future, I believe that this topic is relevant to my future studies that I will be undertaking in university. In the society that we as humans are now living in, we are and have been frequently asking the question "Outline how our environment plays a role in causing children to kill?" Our environment is a constant part of children's everyday life; therefore the amount of violence portrayed and shown to them in their everyday lives affects them immensely. I believe that there are six main causes that can bring out violence in and affect the way children behave in society and their environment. These causes are the development of social skills, drugs and alcohol, street gangs, media, abuse, and family. In this essay, I will discuss and evaluate all of these six causes with references to case studies. To begin, what makes child killers seem so much more horrendous than any other killers; I believe that it is because children are perceived as innocent and angelic, which is why when they do such a thing as murder another human being they are immediately labelled 'freaks of nature'1. However this labelling could be considered unfair, because there are explanations behind why children do this and why their brains function in such a way. Secondly, the development of social skills is highly important in a child's growth towards morality (learning the difference between right and wrong). ...read more.


Another example is of two young girls who attacked and murdered a nun, and then claimed that they were told to do it in the lyrics of the songs by Marilyn Manson." 5 Why are these children so easily able to access such violent films and lyrics? One answer is that parents are finding more and more need to work and less time to spend with their children therefore the children are open to watching television, playing video games, and accessing the internet; all of which introduce them to violence as aforementioned. By letting children view all of these bad images and influences "We are, in short, teaching them that killing is natural."6 This leads me to another cause as to why children kill, which is abuse. There are three main types of abuse that can affect a child in later life; sexual, physical and mental. Many of the children I have studied about that kill have experienced either two or all of these forms of abuse. Usually this abuse is then forced upon a child by a family member or authority, but in most cases by a father, brother, or mother. In the case of children who kill and sexually abuse another person, they are just acting in this manner merely because they recreating the violence and abuse that was done unto them. These children possibly have been victims of abuse for a number of years before they decided that enough was enough and they finally lost it and became the person that was responsible for instead of the victim. This reaction is normal for a child who has not been taught any different because what they have been subjected to is what they believe is morally right, little do they know that it is the opposite of right, immoral. There have been cases where the children that have experienced abuse in their family went and killed the family that made them suffer, however the usual approach that these troubled children take is to take it out on innocent victims that have nothing to do with them whatsoever. ...read more.


sexually abusing children (maybe even Robert), and one brother violently threatened his teachers on a regular bases and constantly attempted to commit suicide. This horrific family environment led Robert to become antisocial and to abuse his younger brother (maybe even sexually as he did not deny or confirm this when asked in questioning). The case study used of James Bulger, was a huge case, and in researching this, I have discovered many things and found many answers. Like that of Cheryl Pierson, Mary Bell, Cindy Collier and Shirley Wolf, and now, these two young boys, family including security love and a good upbringing is a crucial part and need of a child's development. In conclusion I would like to integrate a quote by Walter C. Reckless, which is an extensive summary to my discussed theories and ideas. "Unlike biological theories, the sociological study of crime emphasizes the role of the environment on criminal behaviour. Here, Walter reckless advocates that society contributes tom criminal conduct by showing that external factors can influence crime rates and patterns. Reckless argues that family discord, peer pressure, and community factors aid in the creation of juvenile delinquents and criminals alike. He emphasizes the roles of society in both the definition and socialization of criminal behaviours and advocates increased focus on these to predict and prevent criminality."10 Word count: 3,500 1 Pg.12, Time Warner, Born to be Killers; the complexity of abnormal behaviour. 2 Maccoby, E.E. (1980) Social Development. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 3 Duncan, Alice. ""Outline how our environment plays a role in causing children to kill?"." 4 Pg.144, Time Warner, Born to be Killers; the complexity of abnormal behaviour. 5 Pg.29, Charles Ewing, Children Who Kill. 6 Pg.18, Time Warner, Born to be Killers; the complexity of abnormal behaviour. 7 Pg.1, article from www.murderuk.com, entitled "Mary Bell." 8 Pg.2, article from www.murderuk.com, entitled "The James Bulger Killing." 9 Same as above 10 Walter C. Reckless, The Sociologist Looks at Crime, Sept. 1941 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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