January 2017

Lecturer's social media and violence paper praised by Baroness Greenfield

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A new report co-written by a UCB lecturer investigating the link between social media and youth violence has been labelled “urgent reading” by a member of the House of Lords.

Baroness Susan Greenfield, a scientist who specialises in the physiology of the brain, said anyone with an interest in the well-being of future generations should read Craig Pinkney’s report entitled “Social Media as a Catalyst and Trigger for Youth Violence.”

Craig, who lectures on a number of UCB’s degree courses and runs its Working with Gangs and Youth Violence course, produced the paper with Keir Irwin-Rogers of Catch 22, a social welfare charity.

Bringing together six months’ analysis of popular social media channels, discussions with key stakeholders and an international review of relevant literature, it focuses on how social media platforms are being used to glamorise, display and incite serious acts of violence.

Craig’s research reveals many frontline professionals are reluctant to use social media because they lack clear guidance on what is acceptable from an organisational and legal perspective. It recommends regular training workshops for youth practitioners and calls for a commitment from the Home Office to develop up-to-date resources for parents and carers.

It cites evidence of youth workers in America successfully using online platforms as a way of picking up early warning signs of increased tension between high-risk individuals and groups.

Craig has more than 13 years’ experience as an outreach worker and is known for working with some of Birmingham’s most challenging young people, potentially high-risk offenders, victims of gang violence and youths who are deemed most hard to reach.

He said: “I have always fought for young people and care about the life choices they make; this report is just an extension of that passion. Young people, parents and practitioners still fail to understand the negative impact that inappropriate use of social media can have on the youth of today.” 

Baroness Greenfield, writing in the report’s foreword, said: “The authors should be commended and as they themselves suggest, the content be used as a springboard for further discussion, research and above all, action.”

View the Report

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