Thursday, September 1, 2011


Every time I turn on the T.V., it seems the news is inundated with stories of crime and violence. But what is really disturbing (to me) is that more and more of this crime is being committed by teenagers. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an average of 15 teens are killed everyday, usually with firearms, and 750,000 teens are treated in ERs in the United States for violence-related injuries each year.

  • A CDC study of high school students found that 33% had been in a physical fight.
  • 17% reported taking a weapon to school in the previous 30 days.
  • 15-25% experience bullying each year.
  • In 2000, 9% of the murders in the U.S. were committed by persons under the age of 18.
  • 1 in 10 teens arrested had been engaged in a violent activity that could have resulted in serious injury or death of another person.
Teen violence can include fighting, threatening, and bullying. There has also been a rise in suicide, which is violence against oneself:
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens.
  • Over the past year, 1 in 11 high school students admit to having made a suicide attempt.
Teen violence also includes self-injury, which is another form of self-violence.

  • Involvement in gangs
  • Low parental involvement
  • Discipline that is inconsistent, lax or too harsh
  • Use of drugs or alcohol by teen or parents
  • A history of violence at home
  • Emotional problems
  • Injuring animals
  • Exposure to media violence
  • Poor performance in school
  • Experiencing bullying or teasing
  • Antisocial behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs
  • Aggressive behavior in early development
  • Poor teen supervision
  • Low emotional attachment to guardian or parents
  • Delinquent friends
  • Having easy access to weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Please understand, this long list of risk factors does not necessarily cause teen violence, but they place teens in situations where they are more likely to be offenders or victims of violence.

  • For African-American youth, homicide is the leading cause of death.
  • Hispanics experience homicide as the second leading cause of death among youth.
  • The male rate for youth homicide in 2003 was 86%, as opposed to 14% for females.
  • Male teens (41%) are more likely to be in a physical fight than female teenagers (25%).
  • 12% of female teens are more likely to be forced into having sexual intercourse, a form of date violence, than males at 6%.
  • Total direct and indirect costs of teen violence is more than $158 billion per year.
  • Nationwide, 6% of teens missed school due to feelings of insecurity regarding being at school or traveling to and from school.
  • Healthcare costs increase in communities with teen violence.
  • Costs arise from injury and death, such as medical care and funeral expenses.
  • Decreasing property values affect areas with high incidents of teen violence, impacting both long-time residents and new residents.
  • Violent media, including video games, can increase thoughts of violence in teenagers.
  • Suspicions of others' motives increase due to playing video games.
  • Teens who spend more time playing video games are more likely to argue with others than teens who do not spend as much time playing violent video games.
  • Teens who play violent games act aggressive soon after playing.
  • Talk to your teen and LISTEN to their concerns.
  • Know where your teen goes, what he/she does, and who he/she is with.
  • Be consistent and firm, but not to harsh, in your discipline.
  • Discourage involvement with gangs (talk to local police to find out more about gangs in your area).
  • Encourage positive activities, such as in-school or church involvement.
  • Teach the importance of a good education.
  • Monitor and control your teen's exposure to violence, including T.V., movies, video games, music, etc.
  • Get help for your teen if he/she has alcohol or drug problems.
If you notice extreme anger outbursts in your teen, consider first getting a physical for your teen to make sure there is nothing physically wrong, and then look into getting counseling for your teen to help get to the bottom of what is causing this anger, because it will only get worse.


Unknown said...

I am not that old, but there is such a change now with teen culture. We always had all kinds of activities to participate in, and now teens have their phones, and apps and computers to keep them inactive, and attached to the video games, etc. We just didn't have these devices available when I was a teenager. The lack of parenting is probably the biggest culprit, but I would throw in prescription drugs along with drugs as a new prevalent danger that we didn't have before.

Unknown said...

These are the types of posts that I know I have to read but they just scare the heck out of me! It's also easy for me to read the stastics and think, well I'm doing this and that, we are safe. But the truth is we really do have to be vigilant as parents to stay connected with our teens even when there words are saying "leave me alone" thank you for a very scary, but important reminder!!!

Laura said...

Yesterday, 9/1/11, watching the news, a 10-year-old raped an 11-year-old at school (school at already ended). Where are the parents & what makes a 10-year-old commit this kind of crime? Something definitely needs to be done, because they are getting younger & younger.

Thanks ladies for stopping by!

AndreaLeigh said...

scary. high school didn't have gangs in and guns during my day. i'm honestly scared for my son when he gets that old.

Thanks for stopping by on my SITS Day! I really do appreciate it. Hope you will visit again sometime!

Michael Ann said...

This is a great blog! I signed up to get the emails so I won't miss anything. I have two teenage boys. Thank you!


Jenny said...

As a teacher of early teens (12 and 13yos), I thank you for your site. This is a great resource for parents of teens, but also for any adult who works with teens. I especially appreciated this article because violence is definitely on the rise among teens. Our school has kept violence inside the school low, but there are a large number of instances where talk or bullying in school leads to violence outside of school.

Found you through the vB GFC hop

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Erin said...

Laura, who know that the statistics were this bad. I've raised 6 kids now and they must have had some really great friends, because I never personally witnessed this kind of stuff. It makes me so sad. I just think that video games, tv shows, movies and the bad behavior of celebrities just seems to be so enticing to our children. As parents we should be ever vigilant. Where are the parents??? Thank you so much for all of this info. It took a lot of work for you to put all of this together!

Nan ~ Playful Decor said...

As a former school counselor, one thing that really helped get kids to tell me things was to tell them what my reaction would be after they told me. A big reason kids don't talk to adults is the fear of the reaction. I would tell them that I will just say "ok." And then continue the conversation with "what can I do to help?"
This tactic helps parents to defuse themselves too so they don't explode at the teen.
I do worry about how life will be for my little guys when they are teens. I'm hoping our rural area and involvement in activities will help. (((praying with fingers crossed)))

Becky McNeer said...

This is horrible and so depressing. What ever happened to the good ole days? Great info and post. -NYOA from vb

Jen@Mom's Online Garage Sale said...

Scary statistics I don't look forward to the teen years.

Newest follower from vBok's GFC Hop. Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

Love the last section of your post: 'What can parents do?' well, just about everything and anything. Involvement shouldn't have to be spelled out for some.
Thanks for the post.
Wishing you a great week,
Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

Unknown said...

Here in Memphis we are a mecca for gangs, low income, low parental involvement and other indicators on your list. So thankful for Oasis of Hope and other ministries from my church,, that are trying to reverse the trend of poverty and crime in Memphis.

Mrs. Diner said...

My kids are still young, but your blog is a reminder to always be involved with your kids whatever age they are. Thanks!

Unknown said...

My son is 9, Asperger's/ADHD, and has experienced bullying off and on over the past couple of years. We've cut down on it by contacting the school. The Asperger's/ADHD makes my son impulsive and say things that can easily be made fun of. My son is allowed to use a video game on the bus to avoid the bullies and stay with friends. The games allow him to stay focused and prevent him from engaging in random conversations. The bullies were only 10-11 years old at the time. It's scary how young it all begins.

Becky Jane said...

I appreciate you list of what parents can do. Oft times, we don't know how to handle situations...
Visiting from voiceBoks
Thanks, Becky Jane

Anonymous said...

We've had a very serious increase in teen suicides in our area. The community actually had a meeting last week about it.

My 14 year old just started high school and is already the target of 2 bullies. Thankfully, he and I have a good enough relationship that he was able to talk to me about it. I do not want him to become one of these statistics.

Thank you for another awesome post!

Spilled Milkshake
Visiting from voiceBoks Members to Remember!

Unknown said...

You are already on my reading list, but I am stopping by again from vB members to remember...just to say hello:)

Unknown said...

There is a culture of acceptance of teen violence in films, reality shows and the media. It is all about the ratings. All of this teen aggression is sad because these are the persons who will take over once we are gone. Parents need to step it up! I believe that there are too many relaxed parents. The home is so critical to any chances of stemming this tide of violence.

Amberr Meadows said...

It's so hard for me to even think of the types of things that my child would be exposed to at school, but I really don't consider myself to be qualified to homeschool. It's been some years since I worked with children (in Preschool, at that), and I was lousy in Math, so I feel that teachers can educate her better than I could.. Sometimes the signs of bullying aren't even clear, and that's scary to think of. This is a great article with a ton of facts and information to help us safeguard our children, but I need to fortify it with prayer, too.

Kim Bee said...

This post is great. I find kids today to dialed in. No one needs to be that in touch with technology. We have a strict no cells during dinner, movie night and they are off and in the kitchen overnight. I feel the need to be immersed in my kids lives and try to keep close and the line of communication open. I really enjoyed reading this. Very thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and informative post, Laura. I'm visiting from Voiceboks and I'm so glad that I did. My children are all grown now with families of their own, but this is a message we need to spread. I had no idea that 1 in 11 teens attempt suicide! I'm going to tweet post and put it on my Facebook.

Melissa {momcomm} said...

Wow- those statistics are scary. I'm scared to think what it will be like when my kids are older!

counselling southampton said...

Kids will always be kids. They get in trouble from time to time. What we need to do as parents is to guide and let them learn from their lessons because from there, they will grow up to become responsible adults.

Andie said...

Hi, Great article!

I think this infographic will greatly compliment your article.

This discusses how modern parenting could contribute to depression. Enjoy!

Charles said...

I agree with the risk factors that cause teens to be offenders or victims of violence,but there's a reason behind every action.Parents and Guardians should ask there selves what made teenagers choose that path of being a bully,could it possibly involve gangs or using of drugs an alcohol.Its always a reason for someone to do the things they do.Teenagers should ask there selves "What can they do to stop getting bullied?".In my community kids are bullied for being loners,not taking up for there self,etc. The consequences of teen violence could be different if teens stop caring about what people think of them and find them a great support system.Teens choose to hide there emotions because what the next person might say,but If you have a good relationship with your parent or guardian then that could be your support system. Teenagers look at how everybody else think of them.I can say that getting help from a parent or guardian can help a lot.

Jai Simpson said...

I agree with Charles. Risk factors have a big role in a teens life . They decide whether the teen becomes a bully or is bullied. I believe teens should know right from wrong but I feel teens are pressured. We just want to have fun because we are coming to grips with adulthood. Us wanting to have fun leads us to making bad declensions to have fun and it might cause us to harm ourselves and/or our surroundings.

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