One of my most traumatic experiences in high school was becoming a victim of teen violence. After sitting down to dinner with a group of friends we all shared stories of Jr High School and High School violence. From witnessing to experiencing everyone at the table had a story about teen violence. From bullying, physical fights, to weapons at school violence or threats of violence have lasting effects on people who experience them.
After dinner I dug into this idea more and more. The Center for Disease Control tracks teen violence statistics and regularly publishes reports on their findings. Some of the statistics you could predict, others are more shocking.
- 20% of 9th – 12th graders were bullied on school property over the last 12 months
- 33% of 9th – 12th grade students were in a fight over the last 12 months
- 17% of High School students carried a weapon to school within the last 30 days
- 5% reported carrying a gun to high school
Violence is something kids grow up with much more in 2016 than in 2001 when I was in high school. In the last 15 years the prevalence of the internet, video games, and violent films has changed the way bullying and aggression are looked at. I think the ability to google High School Fights or play a highly violent realistic video game makes kids more likely to act out towards others. I still remember the shock and horror when the tragedy at Columbine forever changed concepts of high school security.
Teen violence is something everyone remembers if it happens to them. As the prevalence of violence increases we start to raise a generation who has potentially been over exposed to themes and images that forever change who they are and how they see the world. Open access to the internet, video games, and movies kids start to put more and more questionable examples of negative behaviors in their mind. As my mom always said “If you put garbage in, you get garbage out.”
Beyond making me feel old for writing this, and sounding like a total parent, I wonder what the solution is for this? Share in the comments what has worked for your family.