New Study: Youth and Violence

Posted by on August 30, 2002

[Public Education Network Newsblast]

Young people describe teasing that goes beyond being playful, put-downs, and cruel gossip as very real violence to them and as triggers for the physical violence that almost half of them endure, according to a new study by Families and Work Institute and The Colorado Trust. Rather than blaming parents or schools as many youth violence experts have done, young people point to an overbearing culture that rejects diversity. The report is the first study to ask a nationally representative sample of kids: “If you could make one change that would help stop the violence that young people experience today, what would that one change be?” While blame and remedies for youth violence have focused on parents and/or the schools (and these relationships are indeed important), many young people have a larger focus: a seemingly inescapable culture that celebrates sameness, the one right way to be “in.” They feel they need to join in, in order to protect themselves. Young people are advocating for accepting the basic humanity of all people while accepting differences — not just in race, but in where people live, what they look like, and how much money they have. Relationships are important. Young people with better relationships with mothers, fathers, teachers, and friends are much less likely to experience violence, either as victims or as aggressors.

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