Youth violence refers to harmful behaviors that can start early and continue into young adulthood. The young person can be a victim, an offender, or a witness to the violence.
Youth violence includes various behaviors. Some violent acts—such as bullying, slapping, or hitting—can cause more emotional harm than physical harm. Others, such as robbery and assault (with or without weapons) can lead to serious injury or even death.
The ultimate goal is to stop youth violence before it starts. Several prevention strategies have been identified.
Crime & Violence
Did you know that 9% of murders in the U.S. are committed by youth under the age of 18? Teens under 18 also account for about 15% of violent crime arrests.
It seems crazy that so many young people are physically and mentally capable of harming another person, but many of these youth have been exposed to violence and crime their whole lives.
Maybe you’ve seen violence being used as a way to solve a problem, but have you ever seen it actually make a situation better?
The reality is that violence and crime hurt everyone. Without help, a person who commits one crime is more likely to do it again and again, making the situation more and more unstable and often leading to a tragic ending.
But you can help. If you are afraid a friend is getting involved in crime or is at risk of becoming violent, look for these warning signs:
* Loss of temper on a daily basis
* Frequent physical fighting
* Significant vandalism or property damage
* Increase in use of drugs or alcohol
* Increase in risk-taking behavior
* Detailed plans to commit acts of violence
* Announcing threats or plans for hurting others
* Enjoying hurting animals
* Carrying a weapon
Statistics on Violence
* An estimated 17% of students has carried a weapon to school.
* Approximately 33% of students are in a physical fights.
* Approximately 10% of students were injured as a result of dating violence.
* Homicide is the second leading cause of death among ages 15 to 24.
* I've read that 4,998 youths ages 15 to 24 were murdered, that's an average
of 14 per day.
Sex, Pregnancy and STDs
Whether you hear it in your favorite song, in a movie you love, or in a conversation with friends, it seems like we always hear the same thing about sex: "Everyone does it." But the fact is, having sex is a personal choice. And not everyone chooses to do it.
The decision whether or not to have sex is a sensitive one that we all have to make in our lives.
But, if you do decide to have sex, you must know what to do in the moment in order to protect yourself from getting an STD, or getting someone else or yourself pregnant.
The best way to prevent pregnancy is to practice abstinence. You never have to have sex, no matter what your friends, boyfriend or girlfriend, or your favorite movies say. And you should never, ever feel forced to have sex.
Should you choose to be sexually active, contraceptives reduce the chance of pregnancy, and some contraceptives (condoms) reduce the chance of pregnancy and some STDs. Keep in mind that no contraceptive is effective 100% of the time, but you absolutely must use them 100% of the time for them to be effective at all! Always be prepared, and read the links below to get more information about safe sex.
Discovering that you’re pregnant or have an STD can be frightening, embarrassing and scary — but not usually life threatening. With help, you can make it through it. If you think you are pregnant, or just need someone to talk to, contact your local Safe Place program or find a parent, teacher,
or adult you trust.
* By their 18th birthday, 6 in 10 teenage women and 7 in 10 teenage men have had sexual intercourse.
* Men spend slightly longer being sexually active before getting married.
* By their late teenage years, 3 in 4 men and women have had intercourse.
* More than 2 in 3 of all sexually experienced teens have had 2 or more partners.
* A sexually active teenager who does not use contraception has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within a year.
* Of the approximately 950,000 teenage pregnancies that occur each year, about 3 in 4 are unintended. Over one quarter of these pregnancies end in abortion
Pregnancy Facts & Statistics
The United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births in the industrialized world.
* The teen birth rate has declined slowly but steadily from 1991 to 2004 with an overall decline of 33% for those aged 15 to 19.
* The rates of both Hispanics and blacks remain high relative to other groups.
* Hispanic teens now have the highest teenage birth rates.
* The younger a teenage woman is when she has sex for the first time, the more likely she is to have had unwanted or non-voluntary sex.
* Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school (only 1 in 3 receives a high school diploma).
* Teen mothers are more likely to end up on welfare; nearly 80% of unmarried teen mothers end up on welfare.
* The children of teenage mothers have lower birth weights, are more likely to perform poorly in school, and are at greater risk of abuse and neglect.
* The sons of teen mothers are more likely to end up in prison, and their daughters are more likely to become teen mothers themselves.
Teen Pregnancy Rates in the U.S.
* One million U.S. teens will become pregnant over the next 12 months.
* 95% percent of those pregnant are unintended.
* About 40% of young women become pregnant before they reach 20 years old.
* The poorer the young woman, the more likely she will become a mother.
* Less than 25% of births to teens occur within wedlock.
* An estimated 1 in 5 people in the U.S. has a STD.
* Two-thirds of all STDs occur in people 25 years of age or younger.
* About 1 in 4 new STD infections occur in teenagers.
* Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV.
* About 1 in 5 Americans have genital herpes, yet 90% of those with herpes are unaware they have it.
* At least 1 in 4 Americans will contract an STD at some point in their lives.
* HPV and Chlamydia are the most common STDs in the U.S.
The number of people affected in the U.S.:
* Chlamydia: 4 million
* Trichomoniasis ("trich"): 3 million
* Gonorrhea ("clap"): 1.1 million
* Genital Warts (HPV): 750,000
* Genital Herpes: 40 million affected, with as many as 500,000 new cases each year
* Hepatitis B: 300,000
* Syphilis: 120,000
* HIV: 1 million affected, with as many as 45,000 new AIDS cases reported each year
When life comes at you faster than you’re ready for,
it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to deal with it all. Dropping out of school might feel like the only way to cope. Or maybe you just hate being in school. You aren’t getting good grades, and you feel more comfortable and important at a job or hobby outside of the classroom.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone — but unfortunately, many teens underestimate the importance of their education until it’s too late. In reality, the odds of success are stacked against those with no diploma.
High school dropouts have a higher chance of:
* Being unemployed
* Earning less money
* Receiving public help (assistance)
* Having kids at younger ages
* Being single parents
Career options are limited if you drop out. For example, many high school dropouts become food service workers. For the male population, 2 in 3 high school dropouts are employed, while only 1 in 3 female dropouts are employed.
* Didn’t like school in general or the school they were attending.
* Were failing, getting poor grades, or couldn’t keep up with schoolwork.
* Didn’t get along with teachers and/or students.
* Had disciplinary problems, were suspended, or expelled.
* Didn’t feel safe in school.
* Got a job, had a family to support, or had trouble managing both school and work.
* Got married, got pregnant, or became a parent.
* Had a drug or alcohol problem.
Statistics for High School Dropout Rates
Among youth ages 16 to 24, Hispanics account for 40% of all high school dropouts in 2013, but 17% of the total U.S. youth population.
* Black and Hispanic youth are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to drop out of high school.
* In 2013, 7% of non-Hispanic whites ages 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school and had not completed high school, compared with 12% of blacks and 24% of Hispanics.
* Asian youth had a dropout rate of 4% in 2004, the lowest among all racial and ethnic groups.
* High school dropouts are more likely than high school completers to be unemployed.
* A high school diploma leads to higher income and occupational status.
* Many youth who drop out of high school eventually earn a diploma or a GED.
* In 2013, 12% of males ages 16 to 24 were high school dropouts, compared with 9% of females.
* Although males comprise one-half of the population, they account for 57% of the dropouts in this age group.
* Young adults with low education and skill levels are more likely to live in poverty and to receive government assistance.
* High school dropouts are likely to stay on public assistance longer than those with at least a high school degree.
* High school dropouts are more likely to become involved in crime.
As a teenager, you might think that bullying is a harmless phase elementary school kids go through, and has nothing to do with you. But the fact is, whether you call it bullying, teasing, or "just messing" with someone, it happens every day and at any age.
People bully others often to feel a sense of control or power. Bullying isn’t an accident, but is done with the intent of hurting someone, either emotionally or physically. Victims are usually thought of as "easy targets" and have a hard time defending themselves. And almost all incidents
of bullying happen to the same the person over and over by the same person or group.
Bullying isn’t harmless, or "no big deal" — it is serious.
People Who are Bullied:
* Have higher risk of depression and anxiety that may persist into adulthood:
* Have increased thoughts about suicide that may persist into adulthood. In one study, adults who recalled being bullied in youth were 3 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or inclinations.
* Are more likely to have health complaints. In one study, being bullied was associated with physical health status 3 years later.
* Have decreased academic achievement (GPA and standardized test scores) and school participation.
* Are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
* Are more likely to retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied. If you are being bullied, it’s hard to know what to do in the moment to protect yourself. Here are some strategies for you to consider:
* Tell them to stop. Be Bold!
* Walk away. Don’t let them get to you. If you walk away or ignore them, they will not get the satisfaction they’re looking for.
* Tell an adult you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. In some cases, adults need to get involved for the bullying to stop.
* Find somewhere to go. Walk away and go to place where feel safe and secure, like the library, a favorite teacher’s classroom, or the office. If you’re outside of school, you can always go to your nearest Safe Place location.
* Stick together. Stay with a group or individuals that you trust.
* Find opportunities to make new friends. Explore your interests and join school or community activities such as sports, drama, or art. Volunteer or participate in community service.
If you are friends with someone who is acting like a bully, that doesn’t mean you have to join in. If you stand aside and do nothing, you’re just as guilty as the bully! Here’s what to do instead:
* Take a stand and do not join in. Make it clear that you do not support what is going on.
* NEVER watch someone being bullied. If you feel safe, tell the person to stop. If you do not feel safe saying something, walk away and get others to do the same. If you walk away and do not join in, you have taken their audience and power away.
* Support the person being bullied. Tell them that you are there to help. Offer to either go with them to report the bullying or report it for them.
* Talk to an adult you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. Reach out to a parent, teacher or another adult that you trust to discuss the problem, especially if you feel like the person may be at risk of serious harm to themselves or others.
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”