Cultural phenomena can spring up quickly, and flash mobs are a case in point. Picking up in popularity in recent years, flash mobs are described on Wikipedia as a “group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.” Up until very recently, we would just consider this good, clean fun.
Unfortunately, what used to be an innocent form of entertainment for young people, has taken an ugly turn. Crime-by-flash-mob has hit Chicago and other urban centers, and could be coming to the suburbs. This article describes behavior that has given “flash mobs” a bad name this summer.
In reading the above-linked article, I was reminded of how important the social group is to our teens…and how influential. According to Scott Decker, a professor of criminology at Arizona State University, “Over 90 percent of crimes committed by young people are done so in a group.”
Whether its sexual activity, drinking, or criminal flash mobs, it’s still imperative to help our teens think through the consequences of getting caught up in something dangerous or criminal. It was sound advice when we heard it from our parents, and it’s still something our teens need to hear: “Don’t do something just because it seems like everybody else is doing it.”