Fueling the fire: Teens posting on social media

Fueling the fire: Teens posting on social media

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It seems like every week there is a new viral video - Teens running wild, bragging about it online while a community sits back and shakes their heads.
We wanted to dive a little deeper to understand why these videos are posted in the first place.

"When you give someone a stage and a mic to perform, they are going to perform," D'Shawn Johnson said.

Johnson was a Louisville police officer for 17 years. He now mentors hundreds of underprivileged teens. In his eyes, posting something like this is about the haves and have nots and is the result of frustration about missing out on material things.
"Society is built on the dollar now," Johnson said. "The dollar, dollar, dollar."

"Destruction of property becomes more or less a badge of honor because 'You got it, I'm going to tear it down and show you that what you got I can tear down,'" he said.
We asked some teens why those types of videos get posted with no regard for consequences.

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"The hype," Nasir Sheikh, a 10th grader at Pleasure Ridge High School, said.
"To get attention," another student, Bradyn Sondergeld, said.
Kourtney Austin, a sophomore, knows first-hand. Her video of a fight she was in is still online. The fight happened three years ago.
"The person who put it up I have no control of getting a hold of to take it down and I'm not really happy that it's on there," she said.
All the likes and shares equal internet immortality.

"If you get on social media and you say go to school, make good grades, guess how many likes you are going to get? Zero," Johnson said.
According to the Pew Research Center 88 percent of teens have seen someone be mean or cruel to another person on social media.

Johnson said behavior is glorified in TV shows adults like to watch too.
"It's not the dialogue where they try to be friends. We don't want them to be friends. We want them to fight. Throw wine in someone's face. That's what we want," he said.
Teens become instant celebs. The consequences are not measured.

"They see it as teenagers being rebellious. They don't see it as criminal mischief in the first degree, assault second degree," he said.
That's the message Johnson preaches to the teens he mentors - pause before you post.
"It's an honor that I get to work with kids to maybe help some along the way," he said.
So what can parents do to help along the way? You can start by following your child's social media accounts closely. According to Consumer Reports, only 60 percent of parents of 13 and 14 years are actually friends with them on Facebook.

You'll be seeing a lot more of D'Shawn Johnson on WAVE 3 News in the future. He's agreed to work with us as our "safety and security expert" as we focus on what's causing crime in our community, and what you can do to keep your family safe.

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