Gangs using social media to recruit new members

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has a warning for parents: gangs are using social media as a recruiting tool for teenagers.

There are more than 1,600 active gangs in Georgia, with members as young as 5 years old, the GBI said.

And, according to the National Gang Center, social media is the new go-to for gangs.

“Social media Web sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and others allow gang-involved individuals to represent their gang affiliation, taunt others, post threats, and organize and promote their gangs’ activities,” according the National Gang Center. “Social media escalates the potential for violence, since it reaches such a large audience.”

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This is not unique to Georgia. The FBI has been working with Chicago police to crack down on social media and gangs.

According to an NBC station in Detroit, a murder hit list was posted on Instagram earlier this year. Of the10 people on that murder hit list, only three escaped violent attacks, the report states.

Desmond Patton, an Associate Professor of Social Work at Columbia University, studies social media and gangs and has written several articles about the topic. One says gang violence is increasing online: many times threats online lead to face to face acts of violence.

The NGC and GBI say it’s important for parents to pay attention to their child’s internet and social media usage, by keeping computers in common areas, limiting access to web sites and social media and about your child’s online contacts- as well as their contacts in their phones.

© 2018 WXIA

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