Social Media and Crime


Our routine lives are incomplete without social media. Nobody can deny its importance and impact on our daily lives. It introduces us to the opportunities never be seen without it, from professional to academic, communication to networking. It expands the horizons of free learning and equal opportunities for all.

Unfortunately, there is always a bad side to every good side, too, especially in the case of technology and specifically social media, other than creating opportunities and bringing people closer. It is also used for spreading hate and inciting violence and other related activities. The number of online harassment, blackmailing, stalking, and cyberbullying cases is on the rise at an alarming rate!

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In recent years social media have been used to carry on targeted campaigns and crimes on different population groups like women, children, and specific ethnicities-especially areas where the laws are not supportive and need amendments.

Content Sharing and Criticism:

Social media works on different metrics than other mediums; people are unaware that sometimes their condemning and sharing of a specific subject can incite hate or criminal activities. For example, sharing violence-related graphical content and unneeded criticism plays a major role in normalizing certain patterns and behaviors.

People start to act less or are become numb over some grieve matters. Different researches have shown that social media is the main cause of sustaining and normalizing gender-based violence, ethnic discrimination, and religious intolerance. Ironically, the sole purpose is to condemn violence and hate.

It is also seen that social media is one of the major causes of mental health issues which eventually lead to criminal activities.

Especially among the younger generation, violent graphic content triggers anxiety and depression, leading to aggressive behavior. Youngsters develop a sense of inferiority complex when they see material things their age fellows display; it also propels them to commit crimes.

Social media is not bad if used properly; there is a need to educate people before consuming any online content. Areas with a low literacy rate or a less financially stable environment are more prone to get influenced quickly by social media. Their emotional instability and lack of patience make individuals follow unfair means to fulfill their wants and desires.

Awareness and Accountability:

To avoid any misconceptions regarding the use of social media, awareness and accountability campaigns should be started at the mass level, from grass root level to the broader aspects. For example, campaigns on using social media, good and bad factors, stricter moderation, and surveillance of user identity and activities.

There is also a need for collaborative measures taken by social media administrators and protective forces to regularly monitor user identity verification and content distribution. Laws should be implemented on suspension or severe consequences if content sharing incite or becomes a cause for disruption in society.

Family Level Awareness:

At the grassroots level, parents need to monitor their children’s activities, closely observe their social behavior, and remain vigilant about their social media usage and the online content they consume.

They can take different measures to do that; they can ask for help if they are not used to social media or let their children be their teacher in this regard; it will make their bond stronger and will also help them to discuss and convey their concerns if required in a friendly way.

Although different social media companies have launched programs to prevent or monitor the content that can be harmful to users, their effectiveness and impact are still questionable; the better and more effective way to spread the awareness is through family level awareness. These sessions must emphasize the authenticity of the content, resisting and coping strategies for overuse, and exposure to violent content.

Society Level Awareness:

Social media and its impact on society show its penetration in our daily lives. For overcoming and preventing its harmful implications on society, a cross-platform program among the different structures of society must be integrated with different awareness programs.

They give awareness to the general public about the avoidance of violent content and techniques involving identifying and dealing with online crimes.

Education Sector Awareness:

A more robust and impactful measure that can bring quick results is awareness campaigns and school-level training. The best way is to integrate social media awareness into their curriculum.

It can teach them consumption of social media, how to restrict and avoid violent media and how to deal with it in case of online bullying and negative behaviors. These awareness campaigns can bring change at the macro level.

Different Aspects of Social Media and Crime:

People spend many more hours on different social media platforms than actual social interactions; it transforms different aspects of lives, especially when it comes to crimes and victimization. It changes the people’s opinions and how to express their views on any particular matter.

Before social media, people only consumed information and could not share their opinions with a larger audience.

But with social media, they share their opinions and build their narrative, which turned into victimization, bullying, and criminal activities.

On the one hand, this isn’t good for the audience and people with less knowledge. Still, on the other hand, it is also helpful for the investigation agencies to track and observe the criminal behavior of different individuals. Here are some more insights into these aspects:

Positive Aspect:

Social media enables law enforcement agencies and the general public to interact and share information in real-time in case of emergency; a simple tagging can receive an immediate response from the concerned department.

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It also helps track the record and places of any individual involved in any criminal activity. From an investigation point of view, it helps the investigators and analysts understand any activity’s behavior and patterns. Besides that, live steaming functionalities help broadcast the criminal trials for transparency.

Negative Aspect:

Due to a lack of awareness, patience, understanding, and accountability, young people are more involved in negative activities than bringing any positive impact in their lives. They use social media to track potential victims and their possessions. Also, harassment, blackmailing, identity theft, and fraud are conducted in new ways by using social media.

More alarming is that social media is used for post-crime behavior such as performance crime, which shows a list of crimes as an accomplishment to motivate other individuals or boost their ego and criminal ratings.

Last but not least, couch detectives use their methods and techniques to identify or track any criminal activity, which can be misleading and distracting for investigation agencies.

Another more concerning factor is the right to information and whether or not is the information should be shared on social media.

For example, live streaming of trail on social media ensures transparency, but either this transparency is good for prosecutions and fair trials? There are many incidents where sharing pictures and other evidence on social media negatively impacts the case.

Also, the general public develops a bias without knowing the exact details and consequences of any particular case. Many people use this tack tick to reshape the prospect regarding any particular case and mold the public opinion for their use. Here are some general and most common crimes related to social media.

Common Social Media Crime:

Cyberbullying, Stalking, Harassment, and Online Threats:

These are the most widespread social media crimes, especially teens or young people who are the victims of this category. It involves cyberbullying, stalking, blackmailing, harassment, and online threats.

Young people often panic and refrain from telling anyone; this act gives more confidence to wrongdoers. In case of anything bad happens, share it with your parents, friends, and police. Take action against the culprits.

Hacking and Other Fraudulent Activities:

Hacking and fraudulent activities can be of various types, hacking any social media account and then using it for different fraudulent purposes, posting unethical and banned content, posting allegations, and using it for other fraudulent activities. If such an incident happens with your account, report it to the concerned authorities.

Buying and Selling of Illegal Things:

Social media is becoming marketplaces now; their conversion rates are exceptionally higher than any other platforms; sellers and buyers can benefit by using them. But using the same channels of selling illegal and banned products is also very common. Please refrain from involving in this type of activity and report it.

Track and Theft Incidents:

It is common and devastating that burglars monitor your social media feeds, track your activities and locations, and rob you when you arrive at any particular location. You don’t know about the possible burglars, but they know every moment of yours, Keep your social media profiles restricted and only allow friends with people you know.

FAQS

How can social media affect a criminal procedure?

Law enforcement can use social media to conduct investigations and potentially seek criminal charges against people. Social media posts or even private messages are frequently utilized as evidence against a person in criminal prosecutions.

Everyone should follow the general guideline of thinking twice before posting anything. Everything you publish on social media, as well as words and phrases you search on your computer, could be discovered by police authorities and used against you in court.

What are the most widespread or commonly reported crimes that occur on social media?

People making threats, bullying, harassing, and stalking others online are regularly reported and viewed crimes on social media. While much of this type of conduct goes unpunished or is not taken seriously, victims of these crimes frequently do not know when to notify the authorities.

How does media cause crime?

The media frequently promotes odd and surprising crimes. As a result, people may picture themselves as prospective victims of such occurrences. Sensational media coverage contributes to moral fear (or outrage directed at certain groups such as youth or particular ethnic groups).

What is the relationship between social media & crime?

The media shapes people’s opinions of crime, which hurts attitudes and behavior. While the media generates not only a delusion of realism, there are several ways in which the media may also cause crime and deviance due to the massive media coverage one experiences.

Conclusion

Social Media keeps evolving, making users’ privacy and security better each day. The same is the case with social media crimes. They will also evolve, attempting new ways to commit crimes. But the best way to avoid and understand these harmful social media impacts is through awareness of social media usage and how to avoid or protect oneself from it. CWP

Community Watch Paper posts:

What Role Does Media Play In Presenting Crime

Economic And Social Effects Of Crime On Community

References

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