For years, researchers have been examining the link between violence in the media and its effects on individuals. Now experts are looking at social media and its possible relationship to violence. Social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and SnapChat are being used by gangs to recruit members, communicate with their organizations and participate in verbal feuds with rival gangs.
Social media is also being used to document and communicate acts of violence. Individuals now regularly record and post videos of fights and other crimes. Bragging rights go to the video that gets the most likes or views. Past studies have supported the theory that exposure to violence desensitizes an individual and makes these acts more acceptable. With social media being another avenue for people to view violence, promotion of violent acts has become even more commonplace in our society.
As an educator, I personally see how social media creates conflict on a daily basis. Posting on social media allows individuals to remove their usual filters and say things that may be more offensive than usual. Individuals post comments on social media they would never say in person. These statements then create conflicts, which could potentially lead to violence. Without the use of social media, these feelings would have never been expressed and therefore the conflict would not have occurred. Some feel social media has created individuals who are more willing to share critical and negative statements because of the nature of the internet. Social media also allows users to post impulsively and say things they may not wish to share ten to fifteen minutes later. Although social media has many positive attributes, negative issues such as its promotion of conflict do exist.