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Physical fights

Two girls physically fighting.

Why is fighting a problem?

Violence among young people is a real crisis in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24. More than one-third of high school students said they had been in a physical fight. And in 2005, almost 7 percent of high school students said they brought a gun, knife, or weapon to school the month before.

Youth violence can include a lot of behaviors:

  • Bullying
  • Hitting or slapping
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Robbery, assault, or rape
  • Bringing a weapon to school

Deaths from fighting between young people are only part of the problems of youth violence. Many young people are hurt in other ways, some of which can lead to long-term disabilities, including:

  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Gunshot wounds

Which teens are more likely to fight?

There are a lot of things that can make a teen more likely to fight. Some of them include:

  • Physical fights in the past
  • Drug, alcohol, or tobacco use
  • Hanging out with kids who get into trouble
  • Family problems at home
  • Poor grades in school
  • Poverty in the community

Remember, though, that even if one or more of these things exist, it does not always mean that a person will fight.

How can I stay safe?

If violence or fighting happens at your school or in your neighborhood, there are a few things you can do to stay safe from fights.

  • Choose your friends carefully. Stay away from others who do not handle their anger well.
  • Report any weapons to a trusted adult. If a classmate brings a weapon like a gun or a knife to school, it’s best to tell a teacher right away. If you’re out after school with a friend who carries a weapon, leave right away.
  • Practice ‘safety in numbers.’ Stay close to friends and walk in groups.

For more information on getting along with others, visit the Bam! Guide to Getting Along.

 

Content last reviewed September 22, 2009
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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