Americans have felt a growing uneasiness from the growing problem of youth violence
with teens from the ages of twelve to eighteen. It is a controversial subject that is an
increasingly rising with families and the in the government. Some people believe that the
reason behind this national problem is because families are no longer a united unit and are not
home to take responsibility of watching their children. There are others who believe that it is
the influence of the media and technology. The issue this paper will examine whether youth
violence has risen from unattached parenting or because the lack of censorship and influence of
the media. Through the presentation of documented support, it will be shown the rising rate of
youth violence is the result of the lack of censorship of the media.
According to psychologist Craig Anderson, research shows that violent video games,
films, television, and music in the media increase the probability of violent and aggressive
behavior in long-term and immediate situations within youth (81). In the start of this decade it
was estimated that 46 percent of all homes with children have accesses to at least one
television set, gaming console, a personal computer or both (“Violence and the Media” 267).
However, this percentage has changed and is growing everyday with the advancement in
technology and because it’s easily accessible. The Federal Trade Commission reports that
companies’ media and marketing plans advertise their products targeting media outlets most
likely to reach children under 17. Using outlets such as commercials during the most popular
programs such as South Park, websites such as Mtv.com, and teen hangouts such as pizza
parlors or sporting appeal stores (“Experts from the Report on Violence” 24).
Tyler Chartrand, president and founder of the London Youth Council states that “anger,
stress and coping mechanisms are the main issues when talking about youth violence” (qtd. in
Benedict 2). Youth violence is an overwhelming problem as realization occurs on the horrifying
fact that children are killing other children. Sixteen year old honor student Derrion Albert from
Chicago was attacked on his way to school at the bus stop. A mob of teens attacked him and
clubbed him in the head with a piece of wood, pushed him down and stomped on him. The
beating was fatal and five suspects were charged ranging from ages 14 to 19. And this was all
recorded on video with a cell phone (Billitteri 1).
Attorney General Eric Holder said about Albert’s murder “Youth violence isn't a Chicago
problem, any more than it is a black problem or a white problem. It's something that affects
communities big and small, and people of all races and colors” (qtd. in Billitteri 1). Education
Secretary Richard R. Riley also adds that on average 16,000 violent crimes or thefts occur near
or on a school campus every day (“As Youth Violence” n. pag.).