A new phenomenon has taken a dark turn.
By now, many people familiar with social media have heard about “flash mobs.” I;ve heard it described as a “tsunami of kids.” Through social media, groups assemble to do crazy things–pillow fights, snowball fights or dancing. I think there is a commercial out there that shows a guy in a train station who shows up to dance but he’s the only one since his phone service is too slow and doesn’t let him know the location has been changed. It has often been relatively harmless until lately.
Recently in Philadelphia there have been some cases where flash mobs assembled to assault people and to commit robbery/theft by looting a store. It has gotten so bad that they have instituted a curfew for young people since these flash mobs are largely teenagers. There is even information that the recent riots in London were orchestrated using social media through Blackberry phones.
Here is a link to a CNN story that talks about these flash mobs: “Flash Mob violence”
The Chief of Police in Philadelphia, Charles Ramsey, talks in the piece about his department’s efforts to combat flash mob violence. He says that one of the ways that they have learned about imminent events is from parents and family members of kids who are participating who call and report.
It isn’t something we’ve seen yet but I am concerned. There is potential anywhere for this type of thing. If you are a person who learns of this type of activity, I urge you to call your local police and report it.
This is a trend we don’t need.