Influences for Violence

It seems that a fight-club has emerged in Saskatoon and is being documented via Youtube. This one was discovered by a mother of one of the teens involved.

Amateur fight videos involving teenagers or young men have become increasingly popular on the internet, and when Brenda Burns saw her son in one of them, she was appalled.

One YouTube video shows Burns’s 16-year-old son, Jonathon Carroll, falling to the ground and being kicked in the head by another teenager. (link)

Since the release of the movie Fight Club (way back in 1999), real fight clubs have reportedly emerged. Documenting and sharing these violent events through Youtube (and other social media sites) should not be surprising. Depictions of violence, real and fictional, have been documented for centuries through various forms of media.

Is our society becoming more violent? Steven Pinker argues that our society is the least violent in recorded history. While I accept this general argument, I still believe it is important to understand human tendencies toward violence, whether it be war or happy slapping, and any influences that promote or encourage acts of violence. After all, in my mind, ANY act of violence is intolerable.

Yvonne Roberts offered a troubling theory last November regarding new influences for violence. While types of social upbringing have traditionally been correlated with acts of violence, Roberts touches upon a theory more inline with notions of digital narcissism.

If a growing minority, are ceasing to care about how the other person feels; if we believe in the cartoon violence that allows no place for conscience; if we think that a minute on YouTube or Facebook is worth several deaths or the ritual public humiliation of another human being and some of this is not rooted in poverty or emotional deprivation or intolerance then looking for the “causes” of crime may require a new approach.

Self-gratification and self-glorification appear, in some – a few? – cases, to be the overriding impulses. A justification to take what is wanted, to extinguish who they choose. Killing, rape and injury for its own sake – as part of a buzz, a high, 15 minutes of fame, sometimes filmed for all to see, appears to be a crime unique to the 21st century. A kind of greed for attention and/or self-pleasure and a desire to be a somebody, gone mad.

So what is your current thinking on the influences toward violence in our children? Democratic or mainstream media? Governmental or school policies/practice? Video games? Family? All of the above? And, if we can identify the influences, what do we then do about it as educators, administrators, and parents.

Yes, this is a huge question, but let’s hear from you.

6 thoughts on “Influences for Violence

  1. All of the above. However, the problem is bigger than violence. The problem is the emerging lack of ability for people to assign value to their own lives and their actions. The problem is also an absence of hope. The problem is the speed of technology emergence that discourages people from looking toward the future at all. How can we tell kids to think about their future, when we also tell them about how so many culturally significant icons, tools and mementos from our past are now obsolete. When young people see visions of the future that were created in the past, they are amused. They see that it is impossible to plan for the future and so they live in the now.
    I think one solution is to stop focusing on the importance of career, financial prosperity, accumulation of wealth and status and redefine our measures of success. We must turn more toward the social and community building and teach students how to respect and uplift. If you think about the network we are currently evolving professionally, one of the big success factors is our constant positive feedback, appreciation, gratitude and support. Rather than focusing on the outcomes of our network interaction and the tools for connection, maybe we should lean more toward modeling the type of social interaction that pushes the positivity forward, gives meaning, hope and value to our lives. When we show the network to our students, lets show them how we interact in a way that breathes life into the empty spaces between work, home and community. Let’s show them how we individually can affect the whole. Instead of showing off the power of the network, let’s show off the power of one to uplift the network.

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  4. I have to view the clip, but this does not surprise me. This is not the first group of kids to try this and unfortunately will not be the last. There was an incident in our school division recently on this issue.

    There are so many influences on young people today. The reference was made towards the violence in the old cartoons. Not many people jumped off of cliffs like ‘ol Wile E., back in the day. Why? Was it parenting, communication with children? Granted, back then we were probably more secular, whereas kids today truly are in the global village. I believe the teaching of values, communicating, and general parenting is more important today than ever before. Those kids who are constantly left on their own, with parents away, seem to get into trouble more often. Not in all cases buit just a general impression. Schools need to continue the teaching of values more than ever.

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  6. This is all to real for some of us who have had to deal with the aftermaths of the effects of one of these new “fight clubs”. Having seen first hand the youtube videos of youth from my own town involved in the same type of thing, it worries me that many parents do not see this type of action as being a problem or don’t realize just what exactly is happening. I know that some people believe it to be similar to the days when kids did Stampede Wrestling in the backyard without realizing what exactly was going on. With the increasing popularity of the “fight club” action that we are now seeing on tv, it is clear that this type of activity needs to be treated as more than a passing thing. Somehow, parents need to come to grips with the idea that what is happening today is not the same type of activities that took place when they were young. Just as parents need to understand that the drugs that are available are much more potent and addictive than those from the 70’s, they need to understand that adolescent culture has changed.

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