Sunday, March 28, 2010

Newsy: Philly Tackles Flash Mobs

Philadelphia is divided over what authorities are calling a violent flash mob phenomenon, where thousands of teenagers organize via social networking: Philadelphia police are blaming flash mobs for mayhem on the city's streets -- where as many as 3,000 teenagers organized via social networking.
Now, the City of Brotherly Love is divided over who's to blame for what started as performance art -- but in Philadelphia took a violent turn.
CNN reports flash mobs were first started as pranks, where large groups would organize a harmless spectacle --like mass pillow or snowball fights: "They call it flash mobbing. Usually through Facebook or Twitter. A whole bunch of people get together. Sometimes it's to support a cause, sometimes it's just to show the power of social networking, just for fun."
But it's not all fun and games in Philadelphia, where three teens will stand trial in a January death police blame on flash mobs.
Philadelphia's ABC affiliate talked with a teen psychologist who blames the violence on a perfect storm of impulsive social behavior.
DR. MICHAEL BRADLEY: "We're seeing these kinds of bizarre expressions of teen impulsivity, bad judgment, inability to understand consequences of their actions with the new technology which allows them in a New York minute to express these things in very dangerous ways."
But The New York Times suggests there could be deeper social reasons underlying the violence: "Most of the teenagers who have taken part in them are black and from poor neighborhoods. Most of the areas hit have been predominantly white business districts. ...Mayor Nutter, who is black, rejected the notion that race or the city cut in services was a factor."
Fox News reports city officials are pointing the finger at parents.
REPORTER: "They will be held responsible for their children's actions."
MICHAEL NUTTER: "Take control of your kids. It is not government's responsibility to raise your child."
REPORTER: "They are also considering making free transit passes for students invalid after 4 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. to control teenagers' ability to ride downtown."
But Philadelphia's CBS affiliate talked with students who say any proposal that punishes all teens isn't fair: "Every student is not a bad student. Every teenager is not a bad teenager. And some teenagers just go down South Street just to have fun, not to be disruptive or destructive. 
Philadelphia authorities have enlisted the help of the FBI in 24-hour monitoring of social networks.

So, Labor students, what do you think about all this?

Writer: Newsy Staff

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