Social media a growing factor in teen violence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Social media is now playing a bigger role in teen violence including incidents like the shooting at the zoo and Plaza disturbances. One mother is begging for it to stop.

Two teens attacked a volunteer at a food pantry in Kansas City on Tuesday and according to the police report, they wanted to catch it all on camera.

Sophia Washington said groups of teens have beaten up her children like this dozens of times. Recently, one group shot at her home.

“The bullet is still in the door, we'll have to get that taken out. And we had two small children in the house, our youngest child is 11,” Washington said.

The mother of four said it happened because the group wants her son to join their gang.

She described one boy saying, “We ain't going to leave him alone until he's one of us.” Washington replied, “Fine, you can keep on but he’s not going to be in your group.

Washington said this group of teens is among those causing problems all over the city.

“I've seen it firsthand at places that I've been. They jump people at the mall, they jump people at the Plaza, they jump people at the library and they don't care. They have no filters, they have no limits,” Washington said.

Sites like Facebook and Twitter help them organize.

“They use that as their contact. They get on there and post their videos of ‘Hey look at this fight.’ I think it's a way for them to get their name up,” Washington said, “to get their name out there because they think this is popular.”

Pat Clarke with the People’s Action Committee said this pressure to join happens every day.

“I feel for that lady because it's not just happening to her, I get this conversation all the time,” Clarke said.
And this mother thinks the problem will only get worse.

“It's getting worse, because they're growing in numbers,” Washington said.

The Kansas City Police Department’s gang unit did say this particular group of teens is on their radar but it takes time to determine patterns and find key players.

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