What Causes Teens to Be Violent?

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What Causes Teens to Be Violent?

It is blatantly obvious that times have changed when we look at the seven top problems in public schools in 1940 that were identified by teachers.  These included talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, cutting in line, dressing inappropriately and littering (Schissel 29).  However, these seem mild compared to some of the problems faced by teenagers today.  The crime statistics show a steady increase in violent acts.  Regrettably today, teenagers are not only the victims, but also, the perpetrators of violence.  In today’s society, the teenage population has experienced an increase in violence.  Many factors can promote violence in this age group such as physiological factors, mass media, environmental factors, and peer acceptance of violent behavior.

It is a well researched fact that physiological hormone levels in teenagers may cause them to act impulsively or irrationally.  When teens feel threatened by stressors, noradrenaline, the “alarm hormone,” stimulates body chemicals to help the body fight or flee.  It is theorized that stressors in life may decrease serotonin, the “feel-good hormone,” and increase noradrenaline (Kopka 12).  Thus, a teen may exhibit inadvertent aggressive behavior.  Teens with hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, and low intelligence are thought to be more predisposed toward violence because they may lack basic problem-solving skills and the ability to adjust their behavior because they may experience difficulty in telling the difference between nonviolent solutions and situations that could result in conflict (Bartollas 73).  What causes a violent response in one teenager may not affect the behavior in another.  Each person’s reaction depends on how he or she processes information and this is shaped by such factors and influences as brain injury, stress, and hormonal activity.    

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Many people worry that media may cause young people to commit violent acts.  Nowadays, television is much less strictly controlled in terms of violent contents than it was before.  This is also true of movies where it is even more pervasive.  It is a worry because many teens spend more time watching television than they do doing homework or going out with friends.  According to one estimate, a youngster will have seen 200,000 acts of violence on television, including 40,000 murders (Torr 20).  From viewing violent shows, particularly those in a context which glamorizes or trivializes a violence, teens may ...

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