The use of social media is the most common mode of communication in the society; it has evolved the way we do things, and it is becoming difficult to reject it. It is approximated that about 90% of the youth use internet on a regular basis. However, the social media platform is not only used as part of socialization, but it is also used by as a marketing tool. With the use of social media, it is has changed the way we collect and share information. The availability of internet has brought about so many social platforms where people engage with each other.
However, the common social networking sites that are used on a daily basis include Facebook, Twitter, gaming sites, YouTube, and blog sites. These sites receive millions of visitors daily because of the availability of internet and increasing use of smartphones which have new applications that enable quick capturing editing and sharing of information. To the youths these social sites are considered entrainment portals, and which have long-term effects that are still unknown (Ricketts, 2010). Therefore, this gives an important reason for parents to monitor the activities on social since not all sites are friendly for their children. With the help of pediatricians, parents can be assisted to know which sites are useful to their teenagers and how to encourage the use of such sites for their benefit. Despite the limited knowledge, the pediatricians have come up with effective strategies that help the parents identify and understand activities that may expose their children to high risk. This easy will discuss the various types of social media violence that youth engages in among them include cyber bullying, Facebook depression and exposure of inappropriate contents.
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For a very long time the effect of social media has been an issue of concern due to its effect on the young people. Nevertheless, there has been a concern with the public about the use of social media. Among the fears is the concern on moral issues the most obvious once being sex, and violence.
About the research done by the Central for Disease organization, it identified that homicide is the greatest cause of death among the youths. This is as a result, of conflict between the peers. It is estimated that 13 youth die daily as a result of nonfatal violence (Kiilakoski, 2011). It is evident that Social media is used by the young people to engage in acts of violence. Among those actions include gang-related crimes, harassment, and bullying.
Cyber bullying is also known as victimization; it is the primary form of social violence that young people engage in. With the use of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and what’s app which is a form of intent messaging. The youth can send insulting messages, spread rumors and disclose personal information such as sending embarrassing pictures or avoiding others during online communication (Lamon, 2007). Most research has found out that approximately 20% of the young people are victims of cyber bullying. However, those identified as gay, lesbian, and bisexual report high cases of victimization.
The use of social media by the street gangs is a new area of research; criminologists are investigating how and why most street gangs are using the social media. According to the research done by National Assessment of gang members, it is evident that gangs spend a significant number of hours on the social media site. Approximately 25% of the gang members use internet for at least four hours a week. The use the social sites to promote gang culture and to recruit gang members, this is the same method that is employed by the terrorist to recruit the youth. They engage in some activities such as posting videos, announcing events, holding a meeting and announcing attacks and making fun of recent homicide (Kiilakoski, 2011). At times, they go an extra mile of posting weapons and displaying of other illegal substances.
Researchers have identified the way urban gang uses the social media to perpetrate violence and crime in urban cities. A good example of such violence and crimes that gang members engage on include: drug trafficking, piracy that is copying and downloading of illegal music, software theft, hacking, threating someone online, and posting of videos of violence online.
Cyber suicide refers to the use of the internet to communicate suicidal intentions. Lately, there have been frequent cases of teens engaging on social media about committing suicide. The recent case was on Myspace where 1038 posts from public profiles talked about suicide; it was revealed that the youth especially those at the age of the adolescent engaged in suicidal thoughts due to substance abuse (Lamon, 2007). In addition to that, it was identified that it was possible for the youths to create their space about various ways of committing suicide.
It is evident that most teenagers suffer in silence, as the result, of social media violence; this may be due to cyber bullying or gang violence. Most youths have become victims of online violence without the knowledge of their parents. Therefore, it is important for the parents to monitor the activities of their children while on the social media. Moreover, more research is required to provide useful information on how to prevent aggression among the youths, and this will result in reducing gang violence.
Kiilakoski, T, (2011). Cultural and peer influences on homicidal violence: A Finnish perspective. New Directions for Youth Development, 33, 31-42.
Lamon, K. (2007). Surf and turf wars on line: Growing implications of internet gang violence: Journal of Adolescent Health, 41. S66-s68
Ricketts, M.L. (2010). Potential factors of online victimization of youth: An examination of adolescent online behaviors utilizing Routine Activity Theory: Deviant Behavior, 31,381-410.