In our society, murder is one of, if not the most, heinous acts a person can commit. This is one of the main reasons for prisoners to spend the remainder of their lives in jail or even to face the death penalty. However, more and more teens are looking up how to kill someone, which is a startling trend with serious implications.
The Growing Epidemic
According to several studies, including one published by ChildTrends.org, suicide and homicide are the second and third leading causes of death for people between the ages of 15 to 19. The only thing that is more deadly is accidental injury, which can happen when trying to commit a crime. A large percentage of the perpetrators in these crimes are people under the age of 18. While many are also older, it is a scary thought to think about how many teens think about how to kill a person and actually follow through with it.
The study also found that females are more likely to attempt suicide than males, though males are more likely to actually kill themselves than females. Another study found that roughly five minors commit murder every single day in the United States. This is a growing problem with numbers that are higher than they have ever been.
Another aspect many teens do not realize when they are looking up how to kill someone with your bare hands or even how to kill someone with poison is that anything they do online is recorded. Your browsing history is attainable as well as social media sites. Even if you send someone a private message saying I killed someone and they say nothing, the police will still be able to find this. Social media and online searches are making it easier than ever for law enforcement to catch offenders of many crimes. This is something that many teens do not think about when they are typing it on the computer or with their cell phone.
What Causes This
There are a lot of factors that play into the reasons for a person to say “I want to kill people” or to commit suicide. This is something that is being studied in order to help not only the potential victims of these teens but also the teens themselves.
One factor that has been shown to play a huge role in this is mental illness. It has been one of the leading causes for murder as well as suicide for both teens and adults alike. This does not mean that people who have mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression will kill someone, just that they are more likely to do so than someone without any mental health issues.
Stress and other environmental factors have also been thought to correspond with teens who look up how to kill people. In some cases it can be the result of stress from their family life and they think that killing the person will change their circumstances. These are hard to predict because it is often hard to know what someone is going through as many simply do not like to talk about this.
Examples of Teen Killers
One example of teens who thought they could get away with the perfect murder were Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf. Sheila had been best friends with Skylar Neese since they were 8 years old and the two met Rachel when they entered high school. The two started arguing in their sophomore year of high school. One night in July 2012 Skylar went missing, which at first was thought to be a simple case of a runaway as there was video surveillance of her sneaking out in the middle of the night and getting into a vehicle.
It was not until six months later that Rachel Shoaf had a nervous breakdown and then admitted to police that she and Shelia had premeditated the murder of their friend. They said they did it simply because they did not like her anymore. The blood in Shelia’s car and the search results and other social media information was enough to convict both girls who are serving life sentences for the murder.
Miranda Barbour is another example of a teen killer. In fact she is a serial killer who has admitted to killing between 22 and 100 people from the time she was 13 until the age of 19. She admitted to doing it simply for fun. In fact, when she got married her and her husband would do it together just to get a thrill. She lost count of how many and even the names of the people. She was given the death penalty, though she is arguing that it is too inhumane a punishment for her to endure.
Another example is with Savhah Davis. She was in a gang and killed someone for simply calling out another gang call. When she was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison she was all smiles. This is something that disturbed the judge on the case deeply as she was only 18 at the time she was convicted.
The Portrait of a Teen Killer
While each killer is a little different, there are a few things that many have in common. It is helpful to understand some of the similarities they have so you can be on the lookout for these. Some of the things that most teen killer share are:
- Most teens who commit murder have no criminal records. In many cases they do not even have a history of violence
- 90% of killers are male, but the numbers are increasing dramatically among female teens.
- The majority of cases involve teens who have mental illnesses.
- Many teen killers plot out their crimes over weeks or months in the attempt to create the perfect murder.
- Only half of the murders committed by teens involve guns.
- When guns are involved they are generally firearms that belong to family members or friends.
- Most school shootings are the result of students who were bullied and want to get revenge on those who have wronged them.
These are just some of the main attributes of teen killers. It is important to remember that there is no set profile for this. It does not matter what someone’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or social status is, it can happen. It is really just dependent on the person. Some teen killers are proud of what they have done and will tell others things like “I kill people” while others may keep it secret for as long as they can.
How Parents Can Prevent Murder
As a parent you want the best for your child. This is why you do everything you can to ensure that your child is safe. While it is important to make sure that your child is not the victim of murder, it is also important to make sure that they do not become the killer. Since there is no profile for this, you should never think that it could not happen in your family.
The best way to prevent murder from affecting your teen is to keep open communication. Make sure you are taking the time to talk with them on a daily basis. Understand what is going on in their life. This can help you to know if they are having issues, such as being bullied. This can allow the time to find ways to help them with their issues in a constructive way so they do not turn to violence.
When you talk with your child on a daily basis and really spend time with them you will be able to see the changes in their mood or behavior. If they start to seem more aloof or secretive, then it is important to get to the bottom of the problem.
Also, do not be afraid of counseling or therapy. Many parents worry that it will be like a black mark on their child’s record that they saw a therapist or simply look at it as a sign that they were an inadequate parent. The truth of the matter is that the safety of your child and society as a whole is more important than what other people will think. This can help your child to learn how to cope with the issues they are dealing with in a healthy way.
It is also important to know where your child is. You can install tracking apps on their phone so you will know where they are in the event something happens. If your teen goes missing you will want to know where they are and this is a great way to have a little extra peace of mind.
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