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Youth violence, you just can’t escape it. Not a day goes by that the daily newspaper or electronic media doesn’t report a crime by an adolescent. Sad, isn’t it? Clearly, the adolescents instead of channeling their energy into productive avenues, are participating in violent acts. And once they get involved with any sort of violent act or behavior, it becomes very difficult to get out of it.
To begin with, I would like to share an incident that happened with me a few years ago when I was in school. It was a normal, boring day in School and I was walking towards the canteen all by myself. Strangely, the forever noisy corridor was extremely quiet. There was nobody except a young school guard sitting on one corner. I caught him staring at me, but chose to walk away instead of paying any attention to him. A few minutes later when I was walking back towards my class, the same guard approached me from behind and touched my back side, laughed and went away. At first I didn’t utter a word to anyone, it was only later that I reported the case when he started following me around the school. Though the guard was thrown out of the school, the incident left a mark with me. This was the first time I was ever harassed.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report in 2016, Delhi witnessed crimes, including rape and murder being committed by juveniles. In fact, about 138 sexual harassment cases such as molestation, stalking and voyeurism by juveniles were reported. Along with 51 cases of murder and 81 cases of attempt to murder were reported against juveniles in the city. Apart from these crimes, self-harm and suicide are also another form of youth violence. The rise of social media has been a major contributing factor to the increase of youth violence in the country. It has become a platform for people to perpetuate violence such as bullying, harassment etc. against their peers. It is also used as a platform to display suicidal thoughts, self-harm and possible intent to self-harm. Research conducted by Hinduja and Patchin (2013) on cyberbullying with a random sample of about 4,400 youngsters between the ages of 11-18 from 33 schools showed that almost 21% of youths reported experiencing cyberbullying in 2010.
The paper by Delbert S. Elliott (1994) discusses the various causes of youth violence; highlighting family experience as one of the major causes. This involves weak family bonding, ineffective monitoring and supervision; reinforcement of violence in the home, and attitudes and beliefs that support or tolerate the use of violence. A number of youth violence intervention and prevention programs have been implemented. Research by Abigail A. Fagan and Richard F. Catalano identified 17 interventions as effective in reducing youth violence. These interventions are extremely diverse in terms of targeted age groups, strategies used and the length of each program. The research included interventions at the school, community and family levels.
Apart from such interventions, we can also stop youth violence at an individual level by talking to children who are younger to us, and helping them understand the difference between right and wrong and how violence affects people’s lives negatively. Being a good listener to people’s problems can also sometimes be useful. So let’s together work towards the prevention of youth violence.
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