Behavior Of Children Essay, Research Paper
The behavior children exhibit is influenced by environmental
conditions, however to a lesser extent than the biological factors that
influence behavior, unless the child is severely abused. The environmental
factors have a limited impact when it comes to how a certain individual will
behave when faced with certain conditions. Children may be taught how to
react in certain situations, but just because they see a violent movie or play a
violent video game they are not going to go to school armed to the teeth with
explosives and guns. For people to commit the kinds of actions exhibited in
Columbine Colorado, there has to be some kind of mental dysfunction, not
determined or affected by environmental conditions, driving these
individuals. Therefor, further censorship of television, movies, and video
games is ridiculous and will accomplish nothing.
Environmental conditions such as televison do influence the behavior
of children to a certain extent. Beth Daley brings up the topic of the
emulation of professional wrestling in her article ?Elementary School?s
Wrestling Children and Youth School Violence.? Teachers seem to be
concerned because wrestling it is so easy to emulate. In her article, Ms.
Daley notes the actions of the faculty of Prescott Elementary School in
Norwood by stating that they, ?forbid the pupils form coping wrestling
moves on school grounds.? She also states that ?teachers are trained to
recognize pro wrestling hand signals that double as curse words (Daley).?
This indicates that under certain conditions, environmental conditions, such
as television, can strongly influence the behavior of children. However, it
does not drive them to intentionally harm others. Sparing, inspired by pro
wrestling, can create situations in which injury and anger are a possibility,
thereby leading to actual violence. Television and video games do not
directly influence individuals to intentionally harm others or commit other
Genetic factors play a more important role in determining if an
individual will be prone to violence than do environmental factors. Glenn
Garelik states that, ? scientists who study all types of criminals?from
muggers, murders, and school yard bullies to Armani clad
embezzlers?increasingly suspect that biology plays a more significant role.?
He also states that ?many researchers now believe that the reason one
individual commits a crime in a given instance and another person doesn?t
may have as much to do with neurological, hormonal, and even anatomical
differences as it does with differences in upbringing and environment ?, in
his article ?Born Bad?.? He also states that ?its hard to find any form of
behavior that does not have some biological component (Garelik).? These
two statements back up the idea that biology, not environment, is the key
factor in determining behavior. Another obvious clue that biology is the
major driving force behind violent behavior is the fact that ?throughout
history, crime and violence have occurred in all cultures, no matter how
different their social and economic structures (Garelik).? ?Another simple
fact pointing to a biological basis for violence and criminality is that in all
societies, about ninety percent of violent criminals are men?many of them
young (Garelik).? This further supports the point of biology influencing
behavior by stating that the cause seems to be hormonal.
Children are born with a temperament, this can be easily observed.
Some children are shy, others may be ambitious, some aggressive, etcetera.
While there is no crime gene, this suggests that if an individual is going to
be a violent individual, it is determined before birth. As would be expected,
children who are overly aggressive, for example children who bite and
exhibit cruelty to animals, are much more likely to commit violent acts in
the later periods in their lives.
Unfortunately, violence seems to perpetuate itself, violent parents and
teachers who raise children in a violent setting are, in effect, producing
violent members of society. Don Colburn states in his article, ?When
Violence Begins at Home?, that ?Twenty-six percent of American teenagers
have been hit or physically harmed by an adult at home and another ten
percent struck by a teacher or principal at school, according to the latest
Gallup youth pole. Half of teens said they had been hit or beaten by
someone their own age.? He also states that ?today many of our young
people are at great risk in places where they in all exception should feel the
safest?at school and home (Colburn).? Through the abuse of children,
society, mainly disciplinary figures, is causing children who would not
under normal circumstances become violent individuals, to become violent.
Children emulate what they see and experience, therefor if they are abused,
they will become abusive.
The path to a more peaceful society does not lie in the censorship of
the media, but through the early identification and treatment of problems in
children. The abusive tendencies shown by parents must also stop in order
to reduce the violent nature of society. Through the treatment of children
and even some adults, incidents like the Columbine tragedy can be avoided.
Colburn, Don. ?When Violence Begins at Home.? The Washington Post. 1994. Ebsco Host.
01 Mar. 2000.
Garelik, Glenn. ?Born Bad?.? American Health Magazine. 13 Nov. 1993. SIRS.
01 Mar. 2000.
Daley, Beth. ?Elementary School?s Wrestling Children and Youth School Violence.?