The most horrific of the youth violence that affect our society was in 1999 at the Columbine High School at Littleton, Colorado. This event had influence most policymakers to do something to stop this violence and keep the school safe. Then, in January 2007, another student shot at Foss High School in Tacoma, Washington, a 17-year-old dead in the school hallway.
According to the 2006 report by National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Center for Disease Control, that in 2004, more than 750,000 youth ages from 10 to 24 were injured as a result of violence. In 2004, national high school student survey also showed that 33% had reported of being involved in physical fight more than once in 12 months preceding this survey and 17% reported carrying a deadly weapon also a month preceding the survey. There was an estimated 30% of the youth from the 6th to 10th grader were involved in bullying, as a bully, target of bullying, or both.
Root Cause of Aggressive behavior
More studies were focused on the so-called misanthropic kids since the 1990’s and especially after that incident at Columbine High School. Many could speculate that aggressive behaviors are genetic in nature or otherwise. Most studies are inconclusive about the XYY theory or the bad seed theory; however, this cannot be ignored as well. In 1997, Dr. Helen Smith, a prominent forensic psychologist, wrote an article entitled “It’s Not Evil Spirits That Make Teen Kill” stated that the foundations for aggression may not be genetics but what influences the fetus during the developmental process on a pregnant woman. Dr. Smith further stated that a pregnant woman with the following risks factors such as high stress level, poor nutritional habits, use of drugs and alcohol, and exposure to environmental toxins of may affect the fetal brain development especially neurological centers that affects the temperament and self –control.
These children exposed to such condition during the fetal development have greater tendencies for mental and emotional breakdown, neglect and abuse, substance abuse, and poor peer relationships. These misanthropic kids will grow to be stressed out to deal with their frustration, despair, or malaise and will lead to a heightened desire of hurting themselves or others.
Extrinsic factor such poverty and lack of family structures contributes to children turning violent. These children have histories of rebelling against their parents or their social values due to peer pressure or other issues.
Some parents failed to give attention or observe the subtle cues of aggression from their children because they are just too busy on themselves or simply failed to guide or supervise their children. Other studies have shown that the media has great influence on the development of aggressive behaviors among children. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), children spent more time watching television than talking to their parents. The average high school student would spent an average of thirty-eight minutes (1/2 hour) a week talking to their parents on one-to-one versus an average of 2,400 minutes (40 hours) spent on watching the television.
Studies have shown fantasy violence on television programs sends mix messages to the children that violence or aggression is fun, heroic, entertaining, or best problem solver. These ideas desensitized the children towards fantasy violence and believe that violence is acceptable. Thus, violence is a learned behavior that has been embedded in the history, culture, society, and now even glorified by the media, internet, or video games. How can a society, identify these children, anticipate the act of violence, or intervene early knowing that it is impossible to prevent all the criminal acts or school violence?
Here are some pointers for parents, teachers, responsible adults, and health care providers:
Sometimes, people think too far and too complex. The solution is just around the corner and as the saying goes, “charity begins at home.” If people can only show how to love, how to care, how to understand, and how to listen to their children, then and only then an aggression or violence will be decreased. But, who is there to teach if the parents themselves never experienced how to love and be loved? Now, that early warning signs have been identified, it is time to act and to stop the increasing growth of the so-called misanthropic kids.
To learn more about the preventive strategies visit, the links below.
Some interesting books that you might have: