Why are Kids These Days So Violent?


wiseGEEK Writing Contest

There are many factors which determine the behavior of children. Extensive knowledge has been gained by examining the closely related social structure of elephants in Africa. What do we have in common? Well, both the youth of today, and elephants have become increasingly temperamental. Violence in teens is at an all time high with no tangible solution in sight. Researchers have however narrowed it down to the most probable psychological traits and/or inherent defects, which have been associated with violent behavior. A few determinates of violent behavior include, genetic factors, early experiences, temperament, social conditions, and family environment. Theory states that background, and casual pathways are also significant influences contributing to the development of delinquent youth. An understanding of risk factors such as sex, race, and social class may be useful in identifying vulnerable groups as well. However it's best to refer to more reliable risk factors such as, temperament, exposure to deviant peers, and adverse family relationships. With today's delinquent, and violent youth snowballing out of control, would it be possible to find a significant resolution to the problem by examining the elephants in Africa?

Strikingly similar to the violence in youth today, elephants seem to be turning on humans in ever increasing numbers. Poaching throughout the years has left elephant numbers at an all time low in Uganda. Elephants are destroying homes, stealing food, turning on their masters, and killing more humans than ever. Elephants, like humans, thrive on extremely tight family bonds which have been decimated by poaching. In elephant herds, the matriarch is typically a great bond binding the herd together. In the absence of a matriarch, there is a breakdown of family structure, and herd responsibility is passed down to inexperienced "teenage mothers" who have raised a generation of juvenile delinquents. Furthermore, lack of older bulls has led to gangs of hyper-aggressive young males that are violent toward one another, and other species. In Addo National Park, 90 percent of male elephants are killed by another, which is 15 times the normal average. Researchers concluded that "family destruction" is a major contributing factor associated with violent behavior. They then began introducing male bulls, and matriarchs into herds needing stabilization. Soon after their introduction, the results were very apparent. The herds now possessed the checks, and balances required to keep the violent males in their place, as well as maintain a healthy, stabilized environment for the rest of the herd.

The evidence pertaining to violent youth, and elephant aggression directs attention to lack of family structure as a major contributing factor associated with these undesirable developmental traits. Violence, and aggression can be greatly reduced in humans, and elephants with the proper, caring, nurturing family structure in place. Today's violent youth are a direct result of "decimated families" which lack the vital necessities for proper development, and growth. This is a very wide spread epidemic requiring immediate attention, and may only be resolved with a collaborated effort on everyone's part.