" (Eagleheart, 2000) Eagleheart (2002) notes that violence does constitute a primary concern for children, particularly in schools. Rather than contributing video games as a cause of violence in children, she encourages educators and others to look deeper and consider that violene has goals; that the particular goal will depend on the individual.
At times, goals of violence may be evident, conscious choices from a child is playing now wants. Other times, goals may not be evident nor conscious. Possible examples of goal from violence, Eagleheart (2002) suggests, include but are not limited to:
child's need to try to secure power and control;
child's expression of painful emotions (anger, fear, despair) that he/she may be experiencing;
child's method of protecting him/her;
child reenacting and experience to try to obtain a different result;
child displaying behavior but he/she learned from others.
Trouble? America's youth, particularly boys, are in trouble. According to Conderman, Heimerl and Ketterhagen (2001), the most violent non-war population of children in the world come from America. Through the methodology of Literature Research, these authors explore causes contributing to America's children ranking as the most violent.... Father's Absence These authors attribute the violence potential to the absence of a father's positive influence in their lives. Some of these youth "lack a conscience, some lack basic impulse control, others lack the ability to articulate right from wrong, others lack empathy, and others cannot get understanding from a culture that sometimes unfairly labels them as morally defective, hyperactive, or undisciplined." Even though research points out that America's boys consume more media than ever, which includes violent videos, the time substitutes for times in the past that fathers and coaches frequently spent with these youth. In recent and current times, however, these boys have routinely been exposed to views that promote anger and violence as methods they can utilize to solve problems. (Conderman, Heimerl & Ketterhagen, 2001)
Repeated Theme a primary theme repeatedly presented in the resilience literature, which Laursen (2002) notes during his Literature Review study regarding children "at risk" for violence and other negative behaviors. He purports that research confirms that:
children who overcome difficult backgrounds have connections to caring adults who bolster their courage and determination to persist, despite difficult odds." This author does not "blame" violent video games as the cause of violence and/or other current concerns challenging today's youth. Laursen (2002) stresses the fact that positive behaviors evolve from children's connections with positive adults. He purports that adults nurture and model seven specific positive habits to begin to reclaim relationships with children/youth, which will consequently contribute to countering violence and other negative behaviors. The following table (1) depicts the seven habits positive, role models practice:
Does what he/she says he/she will do.
He/she is accountable to the young people he/she serves.
Places the young person at the center of concern.
Children and youth are valuable and worthy.
Sees the world through the young person's eyes
Many versions to the same story exist and may need to be told.
Makes time for children and youth a top priority
Young people are important and worth an investment of an adult's time and energy
Verbalizes positive things to and about a young person and means them.
Even troubled youth have positive qualities and constructive behaviors which can be acknowledged
Gives young people a say in decisions which affect them Feelings are valid. Children and youth are the best on their feelings.
Holds young people accountable for their behavior without blaming; lives as a role model.
Children must learn self-discipline, and those who teach them must practice what they teach.
Table 1: Seven Habits Positive, Role Models Practice (Laursen, 2002)
Violence's Market Value
Youth violence, Hoagwood (2000, p. 67) argues, will not dissipate until "it is no longer marketable to sell murder, rape, homicide, assault, or violent acts. " in his Literature Research study, this author notes that studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support studies "on correlates, consequences, prevention, and treatment of antisocial behavior. The social and behavioral sciences have tackled the problem of youth violence with a vengeance," he stresses.
Resulting findings from the NIH studies warn that violence and other antisocial behaviors in youth frequently end in the adult criminal system. As persistent and difficult-to-treat behavior patterns, including violent ones, frequently begin early in a child's life, extraordinary, preventive efforts are needed. Interesting to note that none of the studies noted dealt specifically with violent video games.
Additional areas needing further study in regard to violence and other "at risk" behaviors, according to Hoagwood (2000, p. 67), include, but are not limited to:
1. Mechanisms. Early onset is an important predictor, yet late onset accounts for the largest percentage of violent behavior. The focus of most research to date has been on markers, not on underlying mechanisms or processes by which aggressive behavior develops. Similarly, no attention has yet been paid to the termination of delinquency, to why some youth divest themselves of delinquent acts and stop their involvement in violence.
2. Involvement in Gangs. This is a major risk factor, but almost no researchers have investigated either the mechanisms of transmission of risk whereby some children get involved and others resist, or the efficacy of existing programs for preventing involvement in gangs.
3. Positive Parenting Strategies. The risks associated with harsh parenting practices have been amply demonstrated to be predictive of later delinquency, but less attention has been paid to developing specific interventions that promote positive parenting practices in very young children. Such studies are needed.
4. Environmental Factors. Programs exist in neighborhoods, communities, and a variety of "host" environments. Little is now known about the ways in which different neighborhood environments moderate, accelerate, or exacerbate the effects of violence. Studies of the ways in which differences in resources affect a neighborhood's ability to mobilize efforts to respond to or reduce violence are especially needed. In addition, socialization processes extend beyond person-to-person exchanges. What aspects of environments socialize aggression? These are questions worthy of investigation.
5. Organizational Capacity. As effective interventions are becoming available, the next generation of studies will need to focus on the types of organizational capacities (e.g., strength of leadership, workplace flexibility, employee autonomy) that are necessary to support the implementation of these programs. Issues such as financial capacity, investment of stakeholders, organizational structure, and motivational sustainability are components of capacity that warrant attention.
6. Fidelity. Even effective treatments or services cannot be sustained if fidelity to the programs' principles and practices is not upheld. Studies are needed on how to sustain fidelity to treatment models, how to strengthen the quality of the program as delivered, how to maintain integrity as the intervention is implemented in local sites, how to judge when a modification will affect a program, and how much change is legitimate before it interferes with the integrity of the program.
7. Dissemination and Sustainability. The transportability of effective services into different schools or community settings is not automatic. An important new area of research involves attention to characteristics of communities, neighborhoods, organizations, schools, clinics, and other settings that will facilitate the long-term sustainability of effective services. Questions such as how much technical assistance to provide and for how long, how and when to certify trainers, and how or why policymakers do or do not adopt effective programs are components of this area of research. Important to this area of research are cost-benefit studies that employ full benefit analyses of programs. Insofar as studies of the effectiveness of services explicitly address issues of transportability, progress in understanding the disseminability of programs will be made. (Hoagwood, 2000, p. 67)
Skills to Counter Violence
Emotional intelligence, Lantieri, 2001 (p. 33) proposes, constitutes what young people need to be successful in the 21st century. As a former teacher and school administrato, he co-founded the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP in 1985 with the non-profit organization Educators for Social Responsibility. He cites Daniel Goleman, social psychologist and mental health writer for the New York Times, to define EQ, or "emotional quotient" as people's human skills. These skills, taught in the RCCP program, he stresses "may be as important as IQ for success in life."
One U.S. government study found that 25% of teenagers are "at risk for failing to cope with the demands in their lives (National Research Council, Panel on High-Risk Youth, 1995)." (Lantieri, 2001, p. 33)
Dr. Lawrence Aber, principal investigator of comprehensive, scientific studies related to violence, states, "We found out that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of metal detectors. Aber (1999, cited by Lantieri, 2001, p. 33) During this study, 5,000 young people two years participated in learning "concrete skills in managing their emotions and resolving conflict actually deterred the developmental pathways that could lead to later violence and aggression."
Empowering young people to make positive choices and accept responsibility for learning, this author posits, best counters violence.…