Advanced Essay #4 (Teen Violence VS. Media)

For this project in the beginning I was hoping to pick a topic that I was really interested in and never really heard much about. So I thought that teen violence would be perfect. I always read about violence between race, or the violence at schools or prisons. However teen violence was new to me. I'm glad I chose this topic because it taught me a lot and put many things into perspective. 

Try and think of the last time you watched a movie with violence, or maybe it was a book you read, or a post you saw on social media. It could have been between two people, or maybe it was more political like a protest against racism. Violence shows itself in many forms, but the youth of our society is impacted and influenced most by it.

When most people think of violence, they think of a rugged and irresponsible teenager. This stereotype forms this stigma for teenagers that they can’t escape from. Teenagers have always been expected to be responsible and stand out from the crowd by not doing drugs, drinking alcohol, or being violent. Most of the time as soon as teenagers step away from this pressure they are considered “hoodlums” and “gangsters”.  Most people believe that kids from violent households will become violent teens. However, in one case similar to many others, Daily, a man in Texas adopted two kids  from prison after they served time for killing their father after beating them all their lives. In the article about  them  it says “When the justice system gets its hands on these kids, Dailey believes it deprives them of their freedom—and their childhoods—a second time. ‘I mean, they've lived their whole life in prison. That's like living on a worse desert than I live in. That's worse than death.’”. Now these kids have grown to be peaceful teenagers who don’t believe in that sort of violence anymore. This shows that a simple step back from all of society's standards for teens can change a life completely.

From movies like Twilight to Red Dawn and books like The Hunger Games to Lord Of The Flies, teens are always exposed to professionally published violence. Even in school media like this is examined and analyzed and there are stories about kids committing an act of violence and quoting movies or TV shows that they’ve seen to try and be similar to those characters. Teenagers often see this media and sometimes don’t have anything positive or nonviolent to counteract all of the hatred and negativity. Like if their parents are abusive, they live in bad neighborhoods, or their schools are filled with crime they have no choice but to fit in. However, a lot of teens instead of acting out against this violence physically, they do so online. In one recent article a teenage girl was having a birthday get-together and someone showed up and stabbed a guest at the party. The next day, she tweeted “‘Dude it was my party ... there is blood all over my backyard’. ‘I didn’t do anything some guy got stabbed.’”. As anyone can see, her reaction to this was not to praise or salute the perpetrator, but was shocked and surprised at the horror that had occurred. Teenagers get such a bad reputation because even in the article the violent teen was talked about more than the victim of the crime. As long as this is the trend, teenagers will continue to be seen as violent.

Although adults recognize this issue, they normally don’t take any steps to try and help the teens. However, one group in Northeast Philadelphia takes in young people who have either gone to jail or have been victims to the system and tries to make their lives better and further benefit their attitude towards life and the people around them. This organization is called Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Program (YASP) and they have been helping young people for about 13 years and their statement is “We believe that it is very important to talk to youth both in the adult jails and in public schools to help them stay out of the system period.” By saying this, YASP is making a promise to young people in the city of Philly that there is life after prison and it doesn’t have to be a violent one. This should be the norm for our society. The norm being that instead of just giving up on teens who show a spark of violence, give them a chance to improve their attitude and lifestyle.

Society still has a long way to go before there is no violence. But we can start by helping stressed and “violent” teenagers channel the negative energy into something more positive and giving them a leg up when they need it. There are so many misunderstood kids out there that need a helping hand to not end up in prison or expelled for doing something they think is normal.


Collins, Emma. "Inside the West Texas Sanctuary for Kids Who Killed Their Parents." Vice. Vice, 28 Apr. 2016. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

"Host of Teenage ‘pizza Party’ at Five Dock Describes Events Which Saw 17-year-old Critically Stabbed." Herald Sun. The Daily Telegraph, 1 June 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

"Who We Are." Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project. Weebly, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.