A new University of Michigan study reports that, in addition to carrying guns, gang members have armed themselves with social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to incite dares, trade insults or make threats that may result in homicide or other crimes. Researchers have described this new interaction as "Internet banging." They examine several factors, including the role of hip-hop music in this phenomenon and urban masculinity's influence on social media behavior.
Desmond Patton, assistant professor of social work, said it's unclear if Internet banging only involves males or one ethnic group. However, gang-related violence disseminated over social media appears to be a male-dominated behavior that is shaped by fewer employment opportunities for minorities.
Youth gang members are similar to their non-gang peers regarding online behavior in terms of feeling more positive about themselves using the Internet compared with the real world. The groups differ in using the Internet for posturing.