Today, teenage dating violence is one of the major problems related to the upraising of the younger generation and safety of health and life of teenagers along with safety of their psychological health. In this respect, it should be said that the teenage dating violence is closely intertwined and derives from child abuse and domestic violence along with the negative impact of media, including violent video games. The problem of the child abuse is closely intertwined with the problem of the family violence. In fact, often children become victims of their parents and the protection of children from the abuse and violent behavior of parents is one of the major challenges the modern society has to cope with. Obviously, violence breeds violence and the child abuse and family violence are likely to affect not only the younger generation but also next generations. In such a context, it is necessary to reveal basic causes of the child abuse and family violence in order to find out their effects and ways of prevention.
Causes of teenage dating violence
Teenage dating violence is, to a significant extent, determined by the domestic violence as well as the impact of social environment of teenagers and the impact of mass media. The family violence is primarily determined by socioeconomic and cultural background of the family. To put it more precisely, the low income families are more susceptible to the risk of the family violence because the financial restrictions do not allow members of these families to improve their standards of living. Being restrained financially, members of such families tend to project their socioeconomic problems on members of their families (Lyons-Ruth and Jacobvitz, 1999).
In addition, if the violence within a family is perceived as a norm, than it is more likely that the family violence will occur in the family, while the regular consumption of alcohol can lead to the formation of dangerous and unhealthy habits within the family. At this point, it is possible to speak about the cultural cause of family violence which may accompanied by the use of alcohol. To put it more precisely, the alcohol consumption and family violence are often closely intertwined and constitute a part of the culture of the family. What is meant here is the fact that if the family violence is perceived as a norm than children learn from the early age that violent and aggressive behavior is acceptable (Nestler and Malenka, 2004). Consequently, children that grow in violent families are likely to follow the example their parent in their families, i.e. they also tend to the family violence and abuse of members of their family.
The negative impact of playing video games is recognized by many specialists, including A.B. Jordan (Spring 2008) “Children’s Media Policy”. In fact, Jordan argues that video games have a negative impact on the development of personality of children and affect consistently their psychological state. To put it more precisely, playing video games can increase aggressiveness of children, especially if they play violent video games. The increased aggressiveness, in its turn, leads to negative models of behavior to the extent that children grow more and more inclined to deviant, anti-social behavior. The major reason for such negative trends is the content of video games, where children associate themselves with violent, aggressive characters and where violence is good. In such a way, children can hardly distinguish right and wrong, good and bad. No wonder, the author concludes that the government should conduct strict children’s media policies. In fact, she argues that the government should restrict the negative impact of media, including video games on children’s psychology and on the formation of their personality. To support her point, the author refers to examples of governmental policies which have already proved to be successful. Even though these policies referred to websites, which content could be potentially harmful to children, these or similar policies could be extrapolated on the video games industry and, probably, they will bring success in terms of minimization of the negative impact of video games on children. At the same time, the author lays emphasis on the fact that technologies and video games are progressing and the public along with the state should be extremely concerned with official policies in relation to video games and other media, which could be potentially harmful to children.
In order to understand the potential danger and negative impact of video games on children, it is necessary to refer to the article “Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds” written by S.C. Murphy. The author of this article researches psychology of children and the perception of video games by children. To put it more precisely, the author attempts to understand the impact of video games on children and the perception of the reality by children. In this respect, the author reveals the fact that children often associate themselves with the characters they play in video games. However, they grow accustomed to their character in video game and they gradually extrapolate certain characteristics, qualities, and personal traits on their real life. Eventually, the author concludes that children cannot distinguish the real world from the fictional world of video games. As a result, they mix up the real and fictional life. If playing video games regularly the frontier between the real life and the fictional life tend to disappear that raises the risk of inappropriate social behavior of children and their inability to lead a normal social life in the real but not fictional world.
Thus, the child abuse and family violence produce an extremely negative impact on the development of children and formation of their personality. Children extrapolate this family culture on their own families when they grow adult. Poor socioeconomic conditions, violent behavior of parents, low level of cultural development and consumption of alcohol may be the major factors leading to the child abuse. Hence, it is necessary to minimize risks which lead to the child abuse and family violence in order to bring up a new, highly moral generation, free of violence and child abuse. In fact, the child abuse can provoke teenage dating violence and affect teenagers’ psychology dramatically. The prevention of teenage dating violence begins with the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence along with the attentive approach to children upraising from the part of their parents and educators, who should limit the exposure of children to negative external influences from the part of adults, peers and media.
Effects of teenage dating violence
In actuality, teenage dating violence can have a long-lasting effect on the life of teenagers and, what is more important, the effects of teenage dating violence can be traced even in the adult life of a person. In this respect, it is important to understand that teenage dating is a very process because it contributes to the formation of essential social experience of interaction and intimate relationships between teenagers. In such a situation, the experience teenagers acquire in their adolescence influences consistently their relationships with their partners and spouses in the adult life. To put it more precisely, cases of violence in the course of teenage dating influence consistently the relationships of teenagers. Moreover, the teenage dating violence can provoke the violent behavior of individuals in their adult life because they develop certain models of behavior in their adolescence. Later they extrapolate this experience on their adult life and relationships with other people.
At the same time, the teenage dating violence can have a negative impact on teenagers’ psychology even in the adolescence. Many specialists () point out that the teenage dating violence can provoke serious psychological problems in teenagers to the extent that they may suffer from depression. Another psychological aspect of negative effects of teenage dating violence is possible problems in relationships with peers. What is meant here is the fact that the teenagers who suffered from aggressive and violent behavior of their mates in the course of dating are often anxious about their dating experience. Moreover, victims of teenage dating violence can avoid development of close relationships with their peers out of fear of suffering another act of violence in the course of dating.
On the other hand, offenders may grow more and more aggressive and violent in their behavior, if they succeed in dating violence. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that teenagers’ psychology is not stable, whereas their physiological changes make their behavior unpredictable. In such a situation, teenagers inclined to violent and aggressive behavior can manifest their violent inclinations in the course of dating. However, the more frequent are cases of violence, the more aggressive teenagers become because they believe that violent and aggressive behavior is a norm. They grow confident in their power to abuse other teenagers and, thus, they develop violent models of behavior. Potentially, this may lead to the deviant and antisocial behavior of teenage offender who can become juvenile offenders or sociopath because of the systematic use of dating violence.
In such a way, teenage dating violence may have destructive impact on psychology and social relations of teenagers. Teenagers develop different models of behavior and acquire their experience of intimate relationships in their adolescence. If they suffer from the teenage dating violence, they may naturally have problems in their relationships with their mates not only in adolescence but also in their adult life, whereas teenage offenders can become extremely aggressive and violent. Therefore, the prevention of the teenage violence becomes extremely important in terms of the prevention of psychological and social problems in teenagers.
The intervention of teenage dating violence
The intervention of the teenage dating violence is extremely important because it can help teenagers to pass through psychological and social difficulties caused by the teenage dating violence. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the teenage dating violence can be prevented through the elimination of its basic causes. In fact, it is impossible to tackle any problem, especially such a serious one as the teenage dating violence, till its major causes remain unresolved. As it has been already mentioned above, the major causes of the dating violence are problems in teenagers’ families, namely the problem of the domestic violence which influences the behavior of teenagers consistently. At this point, social workers and educators should pay a particular attention to the situation in the family of teenagers because they have to prevent any manifestations of the domestic violence to protect teenagers from dangerous and negative models of behavior which they can learn from their violent parents. The introduction of special educational programs and courses can be helpful because they may help teenagers to learn positive models of behavior and to understand needs and wants of each other. What is more important education programs and courses can teach teenagers mutual respect and adequate social behavior in relation to each other. Moreover, teenagers can learn basics of conflict management and prevention that will help them to avoid the teenage dating violence.
At the same time, the assistance of parents is extremely important in terms of the resolution of the problem of the teenage dating violence. In fact, parents should help their children to develop positive models of behavior and to avoid violent acts. Obviously, parents should focus on educating their children to avoid violence by all means and to respect their peers and other people. The mutual efforts of parents and educators should lead to the formation of a deep-rooted belief in teenagers that violence is not acceptable for their behavior and relationships with their peers. In fact, violence should become abnormal instead of a norm as it frequently is.
At this point, the role of mass media and video games can hardly be underestimated because the violence in media and video games can provoke the teenage dating violence. In fact, the modern mass media and violent video games promote the idea that violence is a norm and it is practically inevitable in the life of the modern society. Teenagers cannot always distinguish the frontier between the real life and the virtual life in their video games or media. As a result, they can extrapolate their experience of playing violent video games or the experience of their favorite movie characters on the real life situations that leads to the teenage dating violence. Consequently, it is necessary to prevent the exposure of adolescents to violence in mass media.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the development of the problem of the teenage dating violence is closely intertwined with the development of the modern society, where the violence becomes practically a norm. Teenagers, being exposed to the domestic violence and violence in media, naturally extrapolate violent models of behavior on the real life situations that leads to the teenage dating violence. Instable psychology of teenagers and consistent physiological changes make their behavior uncontrollable that increases the risk of the teenage dating violence. The teenage dating violence can have a destructive impact on the relationships of teenagers, their psychology as well as their adult life. The teenage dating violence can affect the relationships of individuals in their adulthood with their mates. In such a situation, the prevention of the teenage dating violence is crucial and this goal can be achieved through the elimination of causes of the teenage dating violence, such as the domestic violence and exposure of teenagers to violence in media.
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