Can Social Media Predict Gun Violence?

gun violence
According to Dr. Andrew Papachristos, a sociologist at Yale University, the answer is yes. In fact, he has claimed in this study that a social network can be a more accurate predictor of gun violence than age, gender or ethnicity.

His findings have determined that victims of this violence follow the same patterns of risky behavior that their friends on these networks do. Essentially, being in the same network as gun offenders increases your likelihood of becoming a victim of gun violence, which makes sense.

This has led police forces to using social media as a way to pinpoint cases where gun violence is likely, and the hope is to prevent future incidents. But what can we do in the here and now? 

Some of you may be in these risky networks, or know someone who is. The best thing you can do is remove yourself from spheres of influence where danger is involved. The friendships are not worth the hazards that come with having harmful friends. 

For children, careful monitoring of social media activity and influence is always beneficial, though it requires open and consistent communication. Your children need to understand what the real-world implications are for any relationship they forge online, whether it starts there or in their face to face interactions.