According to a 2019 survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.2% of students carried a weapon at least once during the 30 days prior to being surveyed, 7.4% reported they had been threatened or injured with a weapon, and 21.9% reported that they were in a physical fight.
Predicting certain behavior in students that will lead to violence is not always possible. In most situations, a combination of life events, mental health issues, and emotions can lead to a child’s aggression or negative behavior that can be detected by parents and teachers. However, this isn’t always the case. In other circumstances, children may exhibit threatening behavior that isn’t obvious or identified early on.
Reasons for Violence
What causes a child to fight on the playground, throw a tantrum with their teachers, or fire a gun at someone or even themselves is not always so black and white. Here are some risk factors that can make a child more likely to turn to violence:
- Access to weapons: Millions of children live in homes with guns, and most of these firearms are stored either loaded, unlocked, or both. According to healthychildren.org, about a third of U.S. homes with children have guns and about 4.6 million kids live with unlocked and loaded guns. This being said, more tweens and teens have access to weapons, leading to a sharp increase in school related deaths and injuries.
- Cyber abuse: Children live in a digital world where the internet, texting, video games, and social media are part of everyday life – while these can generally be positive, there is a dark side which plays a significant part in the decrease in school safety. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, studies show that children exposed to violent media, including video games, are more numb to violence, imitate the violence, and show more aggressive behavior.
- Environmental Impact: Race, ethnicity, gender, income level, and family dynamic may be the most common assumptions regarding violence in school aged children. According to the American Psychological Association, these elements account for only a small fraction of children’s violent behavior. School performance, friend’s behaviours, and family relationships were strongly linked to bad behavior. Problems with schoolwork were linked to cigarette smoking, alcohol use, involvement in weapon-related violence and, for white and Hispanic students, suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Effects of School Violence
Children subjected to violence are at a greater risk of experiencing physical injury, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. There is also a very high chance that it can manifest risky, angry and aggressive behaviours in children who are more than likely to act on these feelings in their school environment.
How Netsweeper Can Help
Violence in school can have tragic consequences for the success of children. Time and time again we’ve read devastating headlines like the Columbine High School massacre, and more recently the Robb Elementary School shooting, where children have lasting ramifications on their overall wellbeing.
Netsweeper’s onGuard is a safeguarding software that provides tools that monitor, detect and access harmful student behavior. Its filtering platform, customized alerts and reports, real-time data monitoring, and trend analytics allow for early intervention to mitigate harmful activity.