Identify & Get Informed
Interpersonal violence perpetrated by youth is one of the most prevalent and visible forms of violence, evidenced by a rise in the premature death many children and youth between the ages of 10 and 20 years. Youth violence can take several forms: Verbal, psychological, and sexual forms of assault, gang violence, bullying, gender harassment, and the use of child soldiers within armed conflicts. Peer pressure introduces young individuals to alcohol and drug abuse and bullying, making these individuals susceptible to violence. Experiencing violence within the family also encourages the use of violence against others, the majority of victims being youth. Some have linked mass media exposure, which has been said to glorify violence while desensitizing viewers, as a risk factor for youth violence.
Compounded by these factors is the structural culture of violence. Poor economic conditions such as unemployment and lack of social services and support, especially in urban cities, has helped to set the stage for vulnerable youth to get involved with the prevalent gang culture of these areas. Finally, children are widely recruited, often by force, in armed conflicts in Africa, with most child soldiers being recruited from the country of Burma---60, 000 youth and growing. Clearly, susceptibility to violence depends on the environment young individuals are brought up in.
Deaths and injuries from youth violence represent a major health problem in many parts of the world. There is a broad range of strategies for prevention of youth violence. Some have proved to be more effective than the others . However, single strategies are not sufficient and therefore, multiple concurrent approaches must be taken to reduce youth violence.
To learn more about the Global Issues’ Guide-to-Action model used for this issue click here
Lead & Get Others Involved
Amidst the stories about the rise and devastating effects of youth violence, there are inspiring stories about individuals with innovative solutions that have the potential to improve thousands of young lives. Such is the story of Laddawan Chaininpun, who lives in Chiang Mai, a major city in the north of Thailand, which is home to an estimated number of more than fifty gangs. In Chiang Mai, like in most highly populated cities around the world, gang violence thrives due to lack of healthy opportunities for youth.
When her grandson joined Chiang Mai’s largest and most infamous gang, Na Dara (NDR), Laddawan realized that attempting to force him to leave the gang would fail since the gang provided Laddawan’s grandson with the support system he needed. After gaining access to the inner workings of the gang her grandson had joined, Laddawan realized that contrary to public opinion, the youth gang was not criminal in nature, rather with limited opportunities and the absence of much-needed support, these youth opted out for membership in a gang despite the inherent consequences their decisions would pose. Laddawan believes that police and media demonize gang youth as violent criminals, in the process ostracizing them and pushing them further towards gangs for support.
As such, instead of working against her grandson’s gang, Laddawan decided to work with it. She began to provide the youth gang with support in the form of counseling on personal and familial issues. She also helped negotiate their disputes with the police. Through her work with the NDR gang, Laddawan understood that the gang structure created an ideal organization for youth support during their early youth, a crucial developmental period of their lives. She felt that the NDR and many other gangs were ready-made youth organizations that could serve a more positive function. Thus, she instituted a no-drug rule in her grandson’s gang, which eventually led to the gang adopting a new name: No Drugs Rule. As a result of her success with NDR, Laddawan founded the Chiang Mai Youth Community (CYC), which transforms youth gangs into empowered support groups that address the broader needs of youth, in the process reducing socially destructive behavior, violence and drug use, and turning these troubled youth into responsible citizens.
If you have lead others to get involved in making an impact on the issue of youth violence or any other global issue, let the rest of the TakingITGlobal (TIG) community know by writing your own TIG member's story
and inspire others to create change just like you!
Now that you're inspired to lead others on this global issue click on the web links below to learn more about how you can get involved with this issue.
If you want to share or learn about and help with bullying, join the international collaborative project that aims to eliminate bullying.
If you are interested in creating friendlier communities for children and young people, the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect invites you to join the Young Participants Program of the 8th ISPCAN Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect.
Plan & Get Moving
So how are you going to share this global issue with others?
Here’s what you can do on TIG:
- Create a petition or make a commitment to help prevent youth violence.
- Start a TIG group or a project dedicated to informing and empowering young people in your community and around the world about youth violence.
- If you’re not sure how to start a conversation around this issue, connect with other TIG members on our discussion boards.
- Check out TIG’s Action Guides to learn how to make the action you want to take on this global issue a reality.
Here’s what else you can do:
- Educate others about the devastating consequences of youth violence.
- Help your community to provide a support network for youth affected by violence.
- Volunteer for organization working to alleviate youth violence.
This is just the beginning, there is a world of opportunities for you to plan and get moving on. So what are you waiting for and get started today!
Have a Lasting Impact
Remember, learning about a new global issue is only the first step to
developing the skills you need to have a lasting impact. So let the rest of TIG know what kind of change you want to see with the issue of youth violence by joining us in one of our online discussions described below.
Do gun control laws prevent gun violence perpetrated by youth or is there another way we could be addressing youth violence?
Do video games encourage youth to use aggression or is it just harmless fun?
Ashoka: Laddawan Chaininpun. Web Address: http://www.ashoka.org/lchaininpun
Coalition to Stop Use of Child Soldiers: Some Facts. Web Address: http://www.child-soldiers.org/childsoldiers/some-facts.
Gender and Health: Youth Violence. Web Address: http://www.genderandhealth.ca/en/modules/trauma/trauma-public-health-approach-02.jsp?r
World Health Organization: Youth Violence. Web Address: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/global_campaign/en/chap2.pdf.
Have something more to add to what we’ve discussed above, then check out this global issue’s wiki page to have your say!