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Adolescent exposure to violence is not only limited to the neighborhoods and homes. This hideous act remains a significant headache in most schools and learning institutions. The schools have always been seen by most adolescents as a safe heaven, not knowing that it could also be a place where they can be exposed to unbecoming and violent activities, which can greatly impact on a their goals and concentration towards success.
A survey by Flannery & Wester (2004) indicates that the rates of adolescence, who have witnessed violence equal 56% of the elementary school children and about 87% of other students witnessing others being slapped, hit or punched at school. Approximately 44% of middle-school adolescents are threatened or bullied at school. Although the rates of victimization from violence at learning institution have been noted to be on the decline in the resent years, witnessing violence at school by the adolescents remains a problem for most school goers, since they spend large portions of their time, among large groups, which are often not properly managed (Flannery & Wester, 2004).
The cause for this vice in the adolescents is related to their upbringing, family background, gender, peer influence, surrounding and mental health. Most adolescents emulate what they see, and many a times, will want to put them in practice, without knowledge the forth coming consequences. A report by the U.S. Department of Education, in 2002, indicated that, between the year 1994 and 1999, violent incidents at learning institutes resulted in 30 suicides, 2 unintentional firearm deaths 11 homicide cum suicides, 5 legal intervention deaths and 172 homicides, with the students accounting for 68% of these deaths. Despite the fact that the risk of being a homicide victim is extremely low, students are not isolated from other types of violence and crime. The reduction in occurrence of such incidences is attributed to the school authorities and the police authorities who have put forth tough measures and punishment for any such offenders.
The adolescents' exposure to violence is related to a number of behavioral and emotional problems. The problems include aggressive behavior, post-traumatic stress, dissociation, anger, anxiety and self-destructive. The exposure may also lead to trauma, feelings of helplessness, vulnerability, and hopelessness. These manifestations may lead to discipline and behavior problems in schools, which finally affects their overall performance in studies. Other students may become depressed and withdrawn, causing a great affect on their ability to concentrate, self-esteem, and consequently, their output. Apart from these, the exposure to violence induces psychological and behavioral influences to the students (Flannery & Wester, 2004).
The young who witness such instances may learn that violence is a good and acceptable behavior. Learning from what they see, they may believe that violence and fighting is right behavior, whether outside or inside the classroom. The students do not learn how to negotiate and solve their problems amicably. They are rather more quickly to lose their control, cool, and emotions. Adolescents exposed to this vice, often do not learn how to communicate their feelings, and may easily suffer from peer pressure. Some believe that, the aggressive behaviors leads to attaining respect and attention. Intimidating behaviors and bullying may be the other consequences (Levinson, 2002).
Adolescents exposed to violence while perusing education suffer with enormous long-term and short-term consequences from the violence. Students living in the urban-inner city environments, commonly provide clear descriptions of the violence that they experience and see in their surroundings. The problem of adolescent exposure to violence is significant, and without intervention corrective efforts, it may escalate with age shifts in coming years. It is vivid that a major effort needs to be undertaken to decrease violence exposure and make less severe, the effects of its when they occur.