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Teen violence is a growing problem in the U.S. Negative behaviors: drug use, bullying, and gang involvement often lead to violent behaviors. Learn about teen violence statistics, risk factors for teen violence, and tips for preventing teen violence.
Teen violence is a serious problem in the US, leading to thousands of injuries and deaths each year, as well as emotional damage in victims and offenders. Though not every instance of teen violence can be prevented, there are things parents can do to reduce the risk of teen violence occuring, and to get help for teens who are the victims or perpetrators of teen violence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth violence is the second leading cause of teen death in the US. Over 5,000 young people are murdered each year, and about 720,000 more are injured so seriously from teen violence, that they need to visit the emergency room. About a third of teens are involved in fights at school, bullying or other forms of teen violence. Even those students who do not receive serious injuries from teen violence are often left with emotional scars, and are at increased risk for other negative behaviors, including substance abuse and suicide.
Some of the teen violence risk factors include:
Not every teen who faces these risk factors will become violent, but they may need violence intervention to reduce the chances that they will be victims or perpetuators of teen violence.
There are many prevention strategies that parents and other concerned adults can use to help reduce the chances that a teen will be a victim of teen violence:
The sooner you can intervene for a youth who is at risk for teen violence or has violent behaviors, the better. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help from medical professionals or to get counseling; teen violence is a serious problem, and it is often more than parents can handle on their own.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, "Understanding Youth Violence: Fact Sheet" [online]
National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, "Risk and Protective Factors for Youth Violence Fact Sheet" [online]
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, "Understanding Violent Behavior in Children and Adolescents" [online]
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